OHCHR emphasizes the role of youth engagement in peacebuilding

30 March 2020:  The Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner (OHCHR) in Uganda supported Wakiso District Human Rights Committee to conduct a community policing and human rights dialogue for district local government leaders, Civil society and Uganda Police Officers. The dialogue, which benefited a total of 54 (25 female and 29 male) participants, focused on strengthening the capacity of law enforcement and security agencies to adhere to human rights standards in the execution of their duties. It was also an opportunity to discuss the role of individuals and the interventions in the district in engaging various stakeholders in assisting the police to do their job because it is a collective responsibility. The importance of civil education especially among the youth was emphasized as well as the understanding that every right has a corresponding duty to a citizen.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, OHCHR Country Representative Robert Kotchani said that, in order to ensure peace sustainability, we have to bring the youth to the centre of our conflict-prevention interventions. He further added that during electoral periods, the youth at times fall victims to misinformation, manipulation, political patronage, violent events, especially, human rights abuses and violations. “We have to engage with the youth, with the aim of ensuring that they are fully engaged in sustaining peace at all times, and promoting dialogue between the youth and the different stakeholders, especially the police and security agencies.”

The forum participants identified crime and safety issues they face, such as land grabbing and property crime, corruption, police illegal use of force, and discussed related risk factors and possible interventions, such as youth unemployment, projects to strengthen community policing and youth engagement.

The community dialogue was organized under a UN joint project, funded under the auspices of the United Nations Peace Building Fund (PBF), which focuses on “Harnessing the Youth’s Potential for Sustaining Peace in Uganda”. The project recognizes the central role of the youth and women in peace architecture and also re-affirms the role of the youth in sustaining peace and in the prevention of conflict in Uganda.