UN cautions MPs on legislation

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights representative to Uganda Dr. Uchenna Emelonye has expressed concern over some of the country’s legislation that could violate human rights.

He said that much as there are positive aspects, they are concerned about the international standards of the public order and management law, the NGO bill and the anti-terrorism bill as far as promotion and protection of human rights is concerned.

Without mentioning particular clauses, Uchenna said, “my accreditation is just about 12 hours old so I can’t really go deep into specifics of such laws but my office will make it a routine to express concern relating to such bills to ensure they meet international standards through engaging responsible authorities.”  

Uchenna who succeeded Birgit Gestenberg made the remarks on Wednesday during his inaugural press briefing at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala.

Parliament has in the recent past been in the spot light especially from civil society organizations for legislating upon bills that have largely been seen as intending to violate human rights.    

He applauded government for efforts being made to promote and protect human rights citing that the situation in Uganda is not alarming.

“My understanding of issues is that Uganda is not in the red and we should really commend government for this but there are still some concerns we shall raise in the due course for redress,” Uchenna said.

Uchenna pledged that his office will be instrumental in monitoring the observance of human rights as the country draws closer to the 2016 general elections.

He said, “We shall closely monitor the aspects of the right to vote and be voted but to avoid taking government by surprise, observing the credibility of the process shall be handled by other agencies.”

Uchenna revealed that he will meet all university vice chancellors on how to have human rights as a general core course unit and that they have finalized the national implementation strategy for a curriculum that will enforce human rights education in secondary schools.

He said that human rights education grows and nurtures a culture of respect for human rights and dignity in the society.

"Understand and recognize the equality of rights and human dignity of all peoples, in particular by ensuring genuine gender equality and equal opportunities for women and men in all spheres,” Uchenna said.

The minister for education and sports Jessica Alupo told New Vision that, “although it’s important to realize human rights and fundamental freedoms which contribute to democratization of the society; the programme has to fit in one of the examinable subjects so that more effort is put by teachers.