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Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:54

Human Rights and Accountability

 

 

Introduction

The Human Rights and Accountability Working Group is a thematic sub-structure of the JLOS Technical Committee that is responsible for the development and oversight of sector interventions to strengthen and promote human rights and accountability programs, processes and structures.

The Working Group enables deeper consideration of human rights issues within the broad spectrum of enhancing access to justice for all, specially the vulnerable persons. This is a response to the need for more effective and better institutionalized linkages that was identified in the JLOS Mid Term Review as affecting the level of impact and implementation of JLOS programs. Therefore, the Group is a key driver in improving the promotion, protection and respect of human rights within JLOS institutions and also ensuring accountability in service delivery.

 

Establishment
The Working Group is an extension of the JLOS Technical Committee and offers in-depth consideration of JLOS interventions that is otherwise not be possible in the Technical Committee. The Working Group reports to the Technical Committee for decisions related to resource allocation and management. It is resourced by the JLOS Advisor for Human Rights and Accountability, whose mandate includes providing technical advisory support, coordinating the Group’s activities and acts as the link to the JLOS secretariat.


Mandate and Functions
The mandate of the Group is to support the Technical Committee in the implementation of the JLOS SDP and in monitoring and evaluation of JLOS interventions.


The Group has to ensure that issues concerning the Human Rights and Accountability component influence the agenda of the Technical Committee and Steering Committee, and bring to the fore emerging issues of national importance.


The Working Group handles matters relating to;
1.    Promotion and protection of human rights at individual and institutional levels;
2.    Promotion of internal and external JLOS accountability;
3.    Adoption and implementation of the Anti-corruption measures in JLOS;
4.    Promotion of accountability in Transitional Justice, and
5.    Handling emerging broader human rights and accountability thematic issues.

The Human Rights and Accountability Working Group has various functions that include;
a.    Promote observance of human rights and accountability within JLOS MDAs;
b.    Identify constraints to the achievement of the Human Rights and Accountability programs to the sector structures for redress;
c.    Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Human Rights and Accountability Reform Programs;
d.    Prepare analysed and comprehensive progress reports on Human Rights and Accountability programs within the overall program for the Technical Committee;
e.    Recommend relevant changes to JLOS SIP III implementation activities as necessary;
f.    Respond to issues raised by the Technical Committee, Steering Committee and Leadership Committee;
g.    Benchmark the JLOS Human Rights and Accountability interventions against other successful sectors/models;
h.    Support sector publicity;
i.    Support the sector in lobbying for funds;
j.    Develop action plans and budgets for the Human Rights and Accountability component;
k.    Perform any other tasks that may be assigned by the Technical Committee. 

When implementing its functions, the Group is obliged to continually mainstream cross-cutting issues  (such as poverty, gender, conflict, HIV-AIDS , and environment) in all activities and also focus on pro-poor programming, low cost but efficient initiatives, vulnerable groups, and bear sensitivity to conflict/post conflict affected areas.

The Working Group is required to provide a work plan supported with a procurement plan to the JLOS secretariat at the end of each financial year.

Membership
In line with SDP:
1.    To the extent possible, each JLOS institution is required to nominate at least two (2) suitable representatives to the Working Group. One is be a senior technical person knowledgeable in the thematic area, and an alternate.
2.    Civil Society Organizations and private sector bodies are expected to express interest in participating in the Working Group. Once deemed relevant and admitted to the Group, a CSO is required to nominate one suitable representative to the Working Group.


The selected representatives/members are expected to:
1.    Attend meetings regularly and participate in the activities of the Working Group;
2.    Provide feedback and report on  implementation of programs;
3.    Provide their respective institutions with reports and updates on the work of the Working Group.

Membership of the Working Group shall be drawn from the 17 JLOS institutions and non-State actors. The Working Group may also co-opt persons from other institutions if the matter under discussion so requires. The current membership of the working group is as follows;


JLOS Institutions
1.    Uganda Law Society (ULS)
2.    Judiciary
3.    National Community Service Program (NCSP)
4.    Non-Government Organisations’ Board (NGO Board)
5.    Amnesty Commission (MIA-AC)
6.    Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)
7.    Uganda Prisons Service (UPS)
8.    Judicial Service Commission (JSC)
9.    Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD)
10.    Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC)
11.    Law Development Centre (LDC)
12.    Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs (MoJCA)
13.    Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC)
14.    Uganda Police Force (UPF)
15.    Department of Citizenry and Immigration Control (DCIC)
16.    Uganda Law Council (ULC)
17.    Centre for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution (CADER)
18.    Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT)
19.    Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB)
20.    Ministry of Local Government (Local Council Courts)


Non-State Institutions
1.    Independent Development Fund (IDF)
2.    National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU)
3.    JLOS Development Partners Group Focal persons (JLOS DPG)
4.    Human Rights Network (HURINET)
5.    Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)
6.    Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda (ACCU)


Leadership
The leadership of the Working Group is determined by both the Technical Committee and Group membership.


Chairperson
The Chairperson of the Human Rights and Accountability Working Group is selected by the Technical Committee from its membership, while the Alternate Chairperson of the Working Group is determined annually by members from among the membership of the Working Group.


The Chairperson has the following functions:
a)    Chairs Working Group meetings;
b)    Communicate key issues and suggestions made by the Working Group to stakeholders;
c)    Manages timely progress of meetings and tasks assigned to members;
d)    Provides strategic direction for the Working Group;
e)    Presents reports to the Technical Committee on behalf of the Working Group.

Secretary
The Advisor- Human Rights and Accountability is the Secretary to the Working Group. The Secretary is responsible for timely documentation of the submissions, minutes and any documentation for the Working Group and the contact person for the same.
Meetings of the Working Group


The Group endeavors to meet on a monthly basis.  The Chairperson determines the date and venue for the meetings of the Working Group. The Secretary is responsible for invitations to the meetings of the Working Group.  Unless otherwise agreed, notice of each meeting informing members of the venue, time, date and agenda is sent to the members of the Working Group a week in advance.


Quorum
A quorum is dully constituted by a simple representative majority. A duly convened meeting of the Working Group, at which quorum is attained, is competent to exercise all or any of the powers and authority vested in or exercised by the Working Group.


The Human Rights and Accountability Group is one of the five Working Groups that the Technical Committee operates through, with a focus of deepening JLOS interventions especially regarding promoting the observance of human rights and accountability within the Sector. The concerted efforts of the JLOS Working Groups should substantially contribute towards the promotion of the rule of law in Uganda.

Published in Priority Focus Areas

 

The National Action Plan for Human Rights (NAP) is an integrated and systematic national strategy to help realize the advancement of human rights in any country. The Government of Uganda is developing a National Action Plan that will set out the ways in which the Government fulfils its responsibility to protect and promote human rights in Uganda. It will spell out the specific objectives and priorities in this regard, and the role of other bodies and individuals in ensuring respect for human rights. The NAP is also a key milestone in the realization of the JLOS SIP III undertakings and once implemented, the NAP will make substantial contributions towards the realization of the rule of law in Uganda.

Published in Latest News
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:34

JLOS Celebrates International Human Rights Day

 

KAMPALA - Justice, Law and Order Sector institutions led by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs on Tuesday December 10 2013 joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Human Rights Day. Together with partners and stakeholders that included the Human Rights Network (HURINET-U), the Human Rights Centre Uganda (HRC-U), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and other human rights actors, the day was celebrated with a series of activities under the theme: “Human Rights: the Long Walk.”

 

The International Human Rights Day is commemorated annually every December 10, worldwide by human rights institutions and civil society organizations. In Uganda, the idea of carrying out joint commemoration advocacy by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and its partners began in 2000 and is based on selected themes aimed at taking stock of the human rights situation in the country during the year; reminding government and the citizens of their human rights obligations; raising awareness of the principles of human rights among the citizens of Uganda and calling for re-dedication to the promotion and protection of human rights by government and all Ugandans.

 

Commemoration of this day when the Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by numerous nations of the world following the realisation that the enjoyment of human rights is a process and a reminder to all human rights defenders that have walked the long journey of protecting and promoting human rights.

 

Activities lined up to commemorate the day included a pre-event outreach activity involving a monitoring inspection visit of Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital in Luzira on Monday 9th December 2013. The visit which will led by the Acting Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti wa Irumba was attended by the Ambassador of Netherlands in Uganda and representatives from partners including the UN Office of the High Commissioner in Uganda and civil society organisations.The objective of the visit to Butabika was to raise awareness about the right to health in general and mental health rights in particular and to allow human rights defenders assess the conditions at the health facility and compliance to globally acceptable human rights standards. The visiting team’s assessment will form recommendations to government and the hospital administration.

 

Commemoration of the International Human Rights Day began at 8am with a procession from the CHOGM Square in Kampala to Old Kampala Secondary School with H.E Alphons Hennekens, the ambassador of the Netherlands as the Chief Walker. The main objective of the human rights walk which also brought together participants from various organisations was to draw public attention to the International Human Rights Day and its theme among the general public. The walk was also intended to provide a platform for human rights defenders to show solidarity in the human rights cause and create a critical mass of all willing human rights actors to demand for improvement in the realisation of human rights by Ugandans.

 

The main event also featured a Human Rights Fare during which each of the participating organisations involved in the promotion and protection of human rights show cased their work to create a platform to interface with the public and explain to them their different mandates and how the various services can benefit Ugandans.

 

During the main event at Old Kampala Secondary School, a total of thirteen organisations received a Human Rights Recognition Award for their sustained effort over time to contribute to the realisation of human rights in nine human rights thematic areas. These areas include the rights of children; rights of women; human rights and social accountability; environmental rights; human rights advocacy; rights of People With Disabilities; freedom from torture; freedom of speech, expression and the press and support to the human rights cause in Uganda.

 

 

By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Published: December 11, 2013

 


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Reprinting or republication of this article and its associated images on websites or other media platforms is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence, including the hyperlink to the JLOS Website, at the beginning or end of the report:

"JLOS Celebrates International Human Rights Day" is republished with permission from the Justice, Law and Order Sector."

 

Published in Archived News
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 09:59

Zambia Human Rights Commission Visits JLOS

 

KAMPALA - Officials from the Justice, Law and Order Sector on the September 10, 2013 met with the Zambia Human Rights Commission delegation that is in Uganda on a benchmarking study tour of the sector-wide approach and the strategic investment plan development process. Ms Pixie K. Yangailo, the Chairperson of the Zambia Human Rights Commission led the visiting delegation. The purpose of the visit was to get first hand insights on the JLOS Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) development process, challenges of the sector-wide approach as well as lessons learned to facilitate their ongoing initiatives at home to develop the Zambian Human Rights Commission SIP.

In a brief Introduction of the Justice Law & Order Sector, the sector informed the team from Zambia that JLOS, established in 1999 following a roundtable discussion on the Government of Uganda Legal Sector Strategy, is an innovative approach aimed at increasing communication, coordination and cooperation among several stakeholders involved in the administration of justice and the rule of law. The visiting team was also presented with the JLOS collaborative programme design that cuts across three strategic investment plans since its inception, that is SIP I (2001-05 that focused on criminal and commercial justice); SIP II (2006 – 11 that focused on consolidating reforms from SIP I with the introduction of two additional priority areas of land and family justice) and SIP III (2011 -16, that is mainly aimed at promoting the rule of law and includes additional focus areas of transitional justice, anti-corruption, and gender based violence and child justice).

Various questions and concerns were raised by the Zambia Human Rights delegation especially regarding the planning and budgeting process, funding and resource allocation, institutional independence of the Uganda Human Rights Commission as well as the challenges and viability of the sector wide approach.

In response, the team was informed that the three sector pillars of communication, coordination and communication (3Cs) have fostered an environment where institutions are able to meet and come up with joint work plans, resource allocation and planning frameworks that address their institutional as well as sector interests. The 3Cs also strengthen institutional independence with the available platforms for institutions to openly air out their views and positions on certain issues such as human rights with all stakeholders. Additionally, best practices implemented by JLOS such as a systems approach to justice delivery and resource mobilization, evidence based planning, constructive engagement and collaboration with potential human rights violators, unity in diversity and peer review have gone a long way in positioning the sector to successfully tackle challenges.

The Justice, Law and Order Sector continues to champion and lead efforts geared toward human rights observance in Uganda and in the region. Some of the achievements of the sector in regard to human rights include; a gradual reduction in human rights violations; all member institutions establishing human rights desks; reduction in overstay on remand; improvement in juvenile justice through separating juveniles from adult inmates and improved sanitation in places of detention.

 

Reporting by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.| Published: September 11, 2013

Published in Archived News

GULU - The Justice, Law and Order Sector in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on August 1-3, 2011 held a judicial colloquium on witness and Victim protection in Gulu. The colloquium was officially opened by the Deputy Chief Justice Mpagi Bahigeine. The LCV Chairperson of Gulu closed the event.

The colloquium was attended by sector institutions, civil society organizations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and was facilitated by among others Justice Julia Sebutinde of the Special Court of Sierra Leon, Justice Moloto of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), Mr. Karegyeza, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and Mr. Richard Buteera- the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The colloquium underscored the need to protect witnesses and victims in all crimes especially war crimes and crimes against humanity cases; the need to have immediate protection guidelines for witness and victims and the long term need to have a law on victim and witness protection.

 

By Edgar Kuhimbisa

Published in Archived News

On 15-16 March 2012, the Justice Law and Order Sector in collaboration with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Women held a “Community Dialogue on the Future of the Amnesty Act 2000” in Kitgum. The purpose of this dialogue was to: Engage in a debate on the Amnesty Act in war-affected communities with a view to understanding community views on the current operation and future of the Act; Discuss the relevance of the Amnesty Act in light of the northern Uganda post-conflict situation and the implications on accountability, justice and reconciliation in Uganda; Reflect on how amnesty interacts with other accountability and justice mechanisms for crimes committed during the conflict in northern Uganda, particularly crimes involving sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

Specific objectives included, to:

1. Enhance dialogue between civil society, victims groups, local and religious leaders and Government representatives on issues surrounding the Amnesty Act in Uganda;
2. Increase outreach on amnesty, accountability and transitional justice issues to victims, affected groups and the broader community;
3. Provide concrete proposals to the JLOS Transitional Justice Working Group and other decision makers including Members of Parliament to inform their deliberations on the future of the Act.

A wide cross-section of stakeholders were represented, including members of the JLOS Transitional Justice Working Group, members of civil society, community-based groups, local government, traditional and religious leaders, academia, and victims’ groups. Community views and views from women’s organizations and victims groups featured prominently in the meeting.

Plenary discussions centred on the possible options for the way forward: the expiration of the Amnesty Act accompanied by the adoption of other transitional justice mechanisms, such as truth-telling and reparations to promote restorative justice; or the extension of the Act with amendments to strengthen the ‘reintegration’ mandate of the Commission and to harmonize the Amnesty Act with existing mechanisms, national laws (ICC Act) and international obligations and standards. While there was expressed support for both options, there was broad consensus amongst all stakeholders that amnesty alone was insufficient to address the rights, needs and conditions of victims and war-affected communities. While amnesty plays a role in peace building, it must be accompanied by additional measures to promote justice, truth-telling and reparations for victims and their communities, as well as social reintegration of former combatants.

Resolutions

The meeting generated rich debate on the possible options for the future of the Amnesty Act. Key considerations included an evaluation of the current role and impact of the Act and the Amnesty Commission; the national and regional context; community views and the experience of victims; amnesty within Uganda’s transitional justice process to achieve justice and reconciliation; as well as implications on Uganda’s national and international law obligations. Recommendations from the plenary discussions and focused group discussions focused on two possible options: expiration of the Act or extension with Amendment.

A key outcome of the conference will be the publication of a conference report with concrete proposals on the way forward. This report will be presented to the JLOS Transitional Justice Working Group for its consideration during its review of the Amnesty Act. The report will also be used to inform key stakeholders and decision-makers on a recommended way forward on Amnesty in the context of Uganda’s transitional justice process.

Published in Archived News
Thursday, 25 October 2012 00:00

UHRC Voted best Human Rights body in Africa

 

KAMPALA - The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has been voted the best national human rights institution in Africa. The award ceremony took place during the 25th anniversary of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights held in Cote D’Ivoire and was presided over by His Excellency Alassane Outtara, the President of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire.

Published in Archived News
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 08:38

Uganda Human Rights Commission

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) was established under the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. The decision to establish a permanent body to monitor the human rights situation in the country was in recognition of Uganda’s violent and turbulent history that had been characterized by arbitrary arrests, detention without trial, torture and brutal repression with impunity on the part of security organs during the pre and post independence era.

Article 52 (1) of the Uganda Constitution lays down the following functions of the Commission:


• To investigate, at its own initiative or on a complaint made by any person or group of persons against the violation of any human right;
• To visit jails, prisons, and places of detention or related facilities with a view of assessing and inspecting conditions of the inmates and make recommendations;
• To establish a continuing programme of research, education and information to enhance respect of human rights;
• To recommend to Parliament effective measures to promote human rights including provision of compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;
• To create and sustain within society the awareness of the provisions of the Constitution as the fundamental law of the people of Uganda;
• To educate and encourage the public to defend this Constitution at all times against all forms of abuse and violation;
• To formulate, implement, and oversee programmes intended to inculcate in the citizens of Uganda awareness of their civic responsibilities and an appreciation of their rights and obligations as free people;
• To monitor the Government’s compliance with international treaty and convention obligations on human rights; and
• To perform such other functions as may be provided by law.

Article 52 (2) also requires the Commission to publish periodic reports and submit annual reports to Parliament on the state of human rights and freedoms in the country.

Articles 52(3) and 48(1) also provide for other functions, powers and guidelines of the Commission.

 

CLICK HERE to request the UHRC for information under the Access to Information Act (2005)


WEBSITE: www.uhrc.ug

Published in Member Institutions
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