Women human defenders from across Uganda have shown more commitment to defend the human rights of all, engage constructively in the promotion and protection of women’s rights, and gender equality.
At a three-day training for Women Human Rights Defenders on engagement with international and regional human rights mechanisms organized by UN Human Rights Uganda with the support of the Embassies of Norway and Sweden in Uganda, over 40 women human rights defenders discussed the challenges faced and the way forward in ensuring better protection of human rights.
Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, African Commission Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa was the guest speaker at the training. “Women Human Rights Defenders Network Uganda have shown commitment and determination to stand strong and should be commended for the massive mobilization and the incredible work in standing up for human rights and gender equality”, she stated. “The presence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Civil Society and Development Partners is eloquent testimony of the collaboration that exists in fostering the human rights and development agenda.”
A strong statement of intent
Ambassador Martinez Mangusho representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) noted the government’s determination to promote the wellbeing of women as provided for in various regional and international human rights instruments. He reiterated government’s commitment and contribution to the agenda, “through, among other avenues, ratification of all important regional and international instruments with a bearing on the empowerment and elevation of the status of women at all levels of human endeavour.”
Speaking on the subject of reporting to international and regional mechanisms, Ambassador Mangusho welcomed the constructive collaboration of non-state actors. “Whereas the obligation to protect human rights falls squarely with the Government, we continue to welcome constructive collaboration in this area to enable us to serve the people of Uganda better. The addition of the Women Human Rights Defenders Network Uganda in our arsenal of Civil Society Organizations is therefore indeed a welcome development.” He noted. He further observed that “over the past decade, cooperation and collaboration between the State and CSOs on human rights matters have improved tremendously. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to engage with Civil Society Organizations in the preparation of State Reports to regional and international mechanisms. The participation of civil society has been extremely useful, and we look forward to working similarly with the WHRD Network.”
UHRC on fruitful collaboration with UN Human Rights Uganda
“UN Human Rights has provided tremendous support to the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) in ensuring that its role as a national human rights promotion and protection institution is better realized. This meeting gives me an opportunity to extend the gratitude of the Commission for this exemplary collaboration and partnership,” UHRC Commissioner Patricia Achan said. She also recognized the work done so far by the Women Human Rights Defenders Network, encouraging them to continue standing strong not only for the rights of women but also for all human rights in Uganda.
On the role of the UN System in Uganda
The Resident Coordinator of the UN System in Uganda Ms Rosa Malango emphasized the need to “ensure a conducive environment for the protection of the rights of Women Human Rights Defenders which requires concerted effort involving all of us.” She pledged the full commitment of the UN System in Uganda to support the work of Women Human Rights Defenders Network in Uganda, as it is specifically mandated to by the UN General Assembly Resolution 68/181. The Representative of UN Women in Uganda and the National Council for Disabilities also attended the activity, among others.
10 July 2019