The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Country Representative Robert Kotchani has commended the Government of Uganda for putting in place institutional frameworks to operationalise and uphold the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
Robert Kotchani was speaking at a two-day training on human rights for members of parliament at Speke Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala. The training is a joint initiative by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and OHCHR to build the capacity of the new members of the Parliament Committee on Human Rights.
He underscored the significant successes of the work of the Human Rights Committee in Parliament and the Uganda Human Rights Commission in supporting Uganda in its efforts towards the realisation of human rights. “Amidst visible successes, lie opportunities for improvement to cope with changing times, and our desires should seek to do better in helping the country deliver effectively and timely on its international human rights obligations.” He added, emphasizing that“OHCHR will continue supporting and complementing relevant national institutions and civil society organisations in their work towards ensuring equal treatment of all persons in Uganda.”
He further commended the Government of Uganda for ratifying several international and regional human rights instruments and signing declarations that guarantee equality and freedom from discrimination, and for the significant progress towards inclusiveness in the development process, as evidenced by the National Development Plan II which envisions the “strengthening of Uganda’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth.”
The Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission Med S.K Kaggwa, as well as the Vice Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee in Parliament Hon. Taaka Agnes Wejuli also addressed the training.
Med Kaggwa called on the members of Parliament to be aware of their oversight role at all times because “the country’s peace, social harmony and development largely depend on the extent to which human rights are respected.” He noted that “Parliament’s role of enacting laws, reviewing national budgets and overseeing the operations of the executive, all go a long way in ensuring the respect and protection of human rights for all Ugandans.”
For parliament to effectively fulfil its role as the guardian of human rights, specific criteria must be met and standards established. In this regard, a human rights checklist was developed with the technical support of both the UHRC and OHCHR.
The Member of Parliament for Gulu Municipality and a member of the Parliament Committee on Human Rights Honourable Komakech Lyandro in his remarks thanked the organisers for the initiative to provide orientation for members of the Parliament Committee on Human Rights. He pointed out that observing human rights was “key to facilitating development processes, good governance and the rule of law.”
It is expected that this meeting will foster ties between OHCHR, the UHRC and the Human Rights Committee of Parliament including on areas of joint advocacy in the field of human rights.