UGANDA: Disabilities report stresses need for a more harmonised legal framework

Kampala 12 February 2019 – The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the UN Human Rights Office launched a Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in Uganda. The report provides a legal analysis to assess whether the laws in Uganda are in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Uganda has ratified.

Hon. Helen Asamo, Chair of the Equal Opportunities Committee in the Parliament of Uganda representing the Speaker of Parliament, launched the Report. “Parliament wants to hear from stakeholders. We do not know everything, so rather than take things to the street, bring your remarks and suggestions to us”, she told stakeholders at the launching ceremony.

Other speakers at the launch included the Member of Parliament for Persons with Disabilities, Hon. Safia Nalule, Chair of the EOC Ms Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi and the Deputy Country Representative of OHCHR Uganda, Ms Nicole Bjerler. They described the Report as an important step forward in the effort to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of Persons with Disabilities in Uganda. They acknowledged the need for greater effort and concerted action by all national stakeholders to address fundamental barriers, which cause the exclusion of persons with disabilities. This includes removing discriminatory laws and policies, and adopting those that ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities.

In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the overarching vision of “leaving no one behind”,  it is essential to ensure the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities as agents of change and beneficiaries of development.

About the Report

The Report assesses selected national laws in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratified by the Government of Uganda in 2008. It covers the period up until May 2018. In three main sections, the Report looks at Uganda’s international legal obligations under the  CRPD; reviews existing legislation (including bills) relating to the rights of Persons with Disabilities and makes concrete recommendations for legal reforms to harmonise and ensure coherence of existing laws with the CRPD. Worthy of note in this report is the analysis of provisions on the specific situation of persons with psychosocial disabilities, including with regard to participation in elections.  The report also flags the need for national legislation to provide particular protection for women and girls with disabilities, who are subject to multiple forms of discrimination. The Report can be accessed through our website on http://uganda.ohchr.org/ResourcesAndPublications/Publications

OHCHR – EOC Partnership

The Report is the fruit of ongoing partnership between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Uganda and the Equal Opportunities Commission. The Launch of the Report was followed by a strategic reflection workshop among key stakeholders, to discuss concrete recommendations on the way forward. The EOC, at the launch, requested further support by OHCHR to engage in a review of existing policies to ensure their compliance with equality standards. For OHCHR, this partnership is an illustration of cooperation to support and accompany national authorities and institutions in the promotion and protection of all human rights.