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The Uganda Human Rights Commission in conjunction with other stakeholders annually commemorates the World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated every 3rd of May of every year. The Commission does so in order to fulfill its constitutional mandate as the National Human Rights Institution, which is mandated to protect and promote human rights for all people in this country as enshrined under Article 52 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed the World Press Freedom Day in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference and since then, 3rd May is celebrated worldwide every year as World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).

 

 

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Published: May 3, 2020

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Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) acting chairperson Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti Wednesday said such preventive measures are consistent with the provisions of articles 23 and 43 of the country’s Constitution.

UHRC urged security agents to respect human rights in the enforcement of the guidelines on preventive measures in line with article 221 of the Constitution.

Article 23 (1) guarantees the enjoyment of the right to personal liberty but also outlines circumstances under which one can be deprived of personal liberty which includes purposes of preventing the spread of an infectious or contagious disease.

“People should know that human rights can be limited for purposes of public order, public health, security, and morality,” Katebalirwe said.

 

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Published: March 27, 2020

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In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has come up with several interventions related to the observance of human rights.

 

These interventions include the following:

 

 

UHRC Central Regional Office is airing spot messages as a campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic with a human rights perspective .The messages are running on Capital FM, CBS(Kampala) ; Sun FM ( Mityana); Buwama FM (Moigi) and Tropical FM ( Mubende).

 

UHRC Commissioner Mr. Meddie Mulumba has been interviewed by NTV where he gave a comprehensive insight into the human rights perspective of the pandemic. WATCH VIDEO HERE

 

UHRC has also issued COVID-19 guidelines to its staff across all its central and regional offices during the lockdown

 

UHRC further issued a press statement on 25th March 2020 on human rights concerns in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. READ STATEMENT HERE

 

Radio talk shows on the COVID 19 and the human rights perspective have been held and others are still lined up on the following stations: Radio One, Dembe FM, Bukedde FM, Namirembe FM and Sun FM (Mityana)

 

UHRC on Tuesday, 14 April 2020 participated in a Webinar titled: "Should Uganda declare a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19?". The webinar was hosted by Bernard Oundo with the following panelists: Prof. Fredrick E. Ssempebwa, Founding and Senior Partner, Katende, Ssempebwa Advocates; Dr. Patricia Achan-Okiria, Commissioner Uganda Human Rights Commission; and Mr. Godber Tumushabe, Associate Director, Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies.

 

UHRC authored an OPED in New Vision Newspaper by Commissioner Patricia Okiria titled: "Human rights-based effective response to COVID-19 in Uganda" published on 8th April 2020. READ Op-Ed HERE

 

UHRC Fort Portal regional office has developed a COVID-19 message/ poster and shared it on whatsapp groups, radios and on the UHRC online platforms

 

There are currently radio spot messages on Elgon radio in Kapchorwa that are being translated into kupsabiny by the Soroti regional office. The spot messages are in respect of limitations in enjoyment of human rights in respect of public interest with specific reference to public health and in particular COVID-19. The notices call upon the public to carry out their responsibilities by abiding by the Government directives in restrictions and other procedures. Urge them to respect rights of people suspected to be infected with COVID-19 and not to discriminate against them or subject them to mob action.  The messages further call upon the law enforcement officers to respect human rights in performance of their duties.

 

Discussions have been held with Etop Radio to conduct an on line radio talk show in respect of limitation of rights and responsibilities of citizen in respect of COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Complaints Management

The Commission received complaints during the lock down period through its toll free lines, social media platforms and emails. The complaints so far received relate to the following issues:

 

1. Complaints against the extension of the quarantine period for those who had been under institutional quarantine by Government

2. Complaints of alleged brutality by law enforcement and security officials whilst enforcing the Presidential directives of lock down and curfew

3. Complaints of alleged lack of access to food during the lock down period

4. Complaints of alleged lack of access to medical care during the lock down period

5. Complaints of violence in homes and heightened family wrangles during the lock down period.

6. Complaints of employees who were stuck at their work places in remote areas as a result of the Presidential directives and could not go back to their homes.

Some of the complaints were referred to the National Task Force on COVID-19 for appropriate management

In addition, the Commission has been making interventions with regard to arrests and detentions around the country, and has on various cases intervened to ensure that suspects on petty offenses are released on police bond in a timely manner, to avoid over crowding in cells.

 

CLICK HERE to contact UHRC for inquiries, comments or complaints

 

 

TOLL FREE UHRC REGIONAL CONTACTS

 

UHRC HEAD OFFICE 0800100766

 

UHRC JINJA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144201

 

UHRC FORTPORTAL REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144200

 

UHRC MBARARA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144202

 

UHRC MASAKA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144203

 

UHRC CENTRAL REGIONAL OFFICE 0800122444

 

UHRC GULU REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144166

 

UHRC HOIMA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144204

 

UHRC SOROTI REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144206

 

UHRC ARUA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144207

 

UHRC LIRA FIELD OFFICE 0800144208

 

UHRC MOROTO REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144212

 

UHRC KITGUM FIELD OFFICE 0800144214

 

 

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Published: April 16, 2020

 

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By Dr Donald Rukare

 

The world is currently gripped in the throes of the gruesome coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Globally, as of April 6, 2020, John Hopkins University reported that we had a total of 1,292,564 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 70,798 deaths and quickly climbing.

 

The COVID-19 said to have emanated from Wuhan in China and is rapidly traversing the world with thousands of cases and deaths seen in Italy, Spain, and the United States. It is believed a surge of cases will be experienced in Africa as well. Uganda according to the Ministry of Health, had confirmed 52 cases without any fatalities as of April 6, 2020. The government has announced and put in several mitigation measures to stop the spread of the invisible deadly enemy COVID-19. These include inter alia stay at home orders, avoidance of large gathering, social distancing, regular washing of hands and a 7 pm to 6 am curfew.

 

The swift actions taken by President Museveni and the Ministry of Health are commendable. However, there are critical human rights issues that should be borne in mind during this emergency period.

 

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Published: April 9, 2020

 

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By Dr. Patricia Achan Okiria

 

The Government of Uganda announced a 14- day lockdown of the country as part of the measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the national directive, as citizens continue to follow, with increasing apprehension, the spread of the COVID-19 in Uganda and the response of the State to the pandemic.

 

The COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions on movement has generated considerable anxiety and uncertainty for many Ugandans. The UHRC supports and embraces the measures and have made efforts to ensure continuity as far as possible. Our commitment is driven by the long term goal of ensuring the advancement of the protection of human rights through complaints handling, awareness creation, education and research on human rights issues in the Country.

 

According to the 1995 Constitution particularly Article 22 on the protection of the right to life in light of the danger that the spread of coronavirus poses to the health, safety and lives of the people of Uganda and thereby threatening the rights to life, health and safety. The transmission of COVID-19 therefore has graver risk to the health and life of vulnerable sections of society including, among others, old people, persons with disabilities, and people with weak immunity due to underlying health conditions.

 

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Published: April 8, 2020

 

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#Press Statement

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) is deeply concerned about the effect of COVID-19 on the enjoyment of all fundamental human rights and freedoms including civil, political, economic, social, cultural and solidarity rights. Just as human rights are universal, COVID-19 is now a universal health challenge spread in over 196 countries with devastating consequences on the enjoyment of a wide spectrum of human rights including but not limited to the rights to health, life, work, personal liberty, education as well as the right to freedom of assembly, association, worship and movement.

 

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CLICK HERE to contact UHRC for inquiries, comments or complaints

 

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Published: March 25, 2020

 

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019 11:33

OBITUARY:The Life and Times of Hon. Med Kaggwa

 

KAMPALA -As Ugandans prepared to celebrate World Children’s Day, they were rudely shocked to learn that one of the guests at the function died on the way. The guest was none other than the chairman of Uganda Human Rights Commission Medi Ssozi Kaggwa

Kaggwa died this morning after reportedly collapsing while driving to attend the function organized by UNICEF in Kampala. The politician-turned human rights defender was a lawyer, who got re-appointed to head the human rights body in February 2016

Kaggwa, who was first appointed in May 2009, was credited for steering the UHRC to greater heights, which saw the commission being recognized by the United Nation. During his term, UHRC received several awards, including the Best National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in Africa in 2012 in Banjul.

Kaggwa held responsibilities at various regional and international human rights organizations such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) which makes his re-appointment pertinent in the pursuit of the human rights agenda.

 

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Published: November 20, 2019

 

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GENEVA - The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) was yesterday March 6th 2019 certified as an ‘A status’ National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in Geneva, Switzerland. This ‘A’ status certificate of accreditation was presented to the UHRC Chairperson, Hon. Med S. Kaggwa during the annual meeting of NHRI’s hosted by GANHRI in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). 

 

‘A’ status accreditation

In accordance with the ‘Paris Principles’, GANHRI has devised three (3) classifications for accreditation for NHRI’s across the world: 

‘A’ status – Fully compliant with the Paris Principles; ‘B’ status – partially compliant; and ‘C’ status – Non-compliant. The ‘Paris Principles’ were  defined at the first international workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human rights held in Paris in 1991 and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. These principles are globally acclaimed and recognised as an international benchmark for National human rights institutions in the execution of their mandate.

 

What this means for UHRC and JLOS

The certification of Uganda’s Human Rights Commission as status ‘A’ compliant is a huge recognition of the Commission’s adherence to international standards and protocols that define the protection and promotion of human rights. This recognition also underscores significant progress made by the Justice, Law and Order Sector in strengthening and empowerment of institutions that oversee the promotion and observance of human rights. UHRC is a member of the Justice, Law and Order Sector and a key player in the execution of the Sector’s human rights observance agenda underlined in the Strategic Development Plan (SDP IV).

 

The Uganda Human Rights Commission is no stranger to international acclaim. The Commission was in October 2012 recognised as the best National Human Rights Institution that has contributed the most to human rights work in Africa during the 25th Anniversary of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights held in Cote d’Voire.

 

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By Edgar Kuhimbisa / Published: March 7, 2019

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The Secretary, Uganda Human Rights Commission on 27th February 2019 issued a press statement on the state of human rights in the country.

 

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018 15:58

Uganda Celebrates International Human Rights Day

 

Uganda joined the rest of the world on December 12 2018 to celebrate the International Human Rights Day presided over the by the Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Bart Katureebe. The event was preceded by a march around Kampala city that drew participation from JLOS institutions, development partners, human rights defenders, the media and members of parliament.

 

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Published: December 12, 2018

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