14 November 2019:- The Network of Women Human Rights Defenders (NHRD) presented key issues that affect them to the Speaker of Parliament - the Right Honourable Rebecca Kadaga. The meeting was facilitated by Ms Rosa Malango, the United Nations Resident Coordinator (UN RC) and the Country Representatives of OHCHR and UN Women Robert Kotchani and Maxime respectively. The purpose of the meeting was to formally introduce the Women Human Rights Defenders Network (NWHRD) to the Speaker of Parliament, as well as to request for her support as their ‘‘Champion’’ in the defense of human rights for women in Uganda.
The leadership and 18 members of the Network of Women Human Rights Defenders raised issues of (a) Gender-Based Violence (GBV) against them, (b) legal provisions and practices restricting the advocacy work of their Network, and (c) stigmatization with the use of gender stereotypes against Women human rights defenders.
The Speaker of Parliament thanked the United Nations in Uganda for facilitating the meeting and said her office would work with relevant actors to address the issues that women human rights defenders presented to her. The Speaker of Parliament also committed to continuing engagement with the Women human rights defenders, OHCHR and UN WOMEN to continue working and advocating for gender equality, for the improvement of the situation of women human rights defenders, as well as for the consolidation of peace and justice institutions in Uganda.
The meeting arose out a three-day training of women human rights defenders from across Uganda that was organised by OHCHR in July 2019, with the support of the Embassies of Norway and Sweden in Uganda at which over 40 women human rights defenders discussed the challenges they face and the way forward in ensuring better protection of human rights.