The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and the National Planning Authority (NPA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Human Rights and Data, seeking to “Leave No One Behind” in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The signing ceremony which took place at Hotel Africana, Kampala on Friday 28 June 2019 saw Mr. Kayima Godfrey the Under Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister; Dr. Mukiza Chris the Executive Director of the Uganda Bureau of Standards; Mr. Med S.K Kaggwa the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission and Mr. Joseph Muvawala the Executive Director of the National Planning Authority sign the M.o.U on behalf of their respective institutions.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Robert Kotchani the Country Representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner, Uganda lauded the four national partners for recognizing each other’s strengths and synergies to further strengthen the development of data and analysis in line with international human rights standards and principles. He said he the UN Human Rights Office was pleased to support that this new framework for cooperation which will significantly contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through a Human Rights Based Approach to Data(HRBAD). “As you know the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is explicitly founded on human rights. Its overarching vision of Leaving No one Behind is a clear call regarding the need to apply human rights based approach to ensure that our development efforts benefit those who need it most. In order for this to happen, we also need to apply a human rights based approach to the development and use of statistical information, in order to develop, implement and assess national policies and programmes, “Kotchani said.
He pledged commitment of his office to continue providing financial and technical support to Uganda by offering regular capacity building programmes to the staff of UHRC, UBOS, NPA and OPM in the Human Rights Based Approach to Data and ensuring that they align the country’s efforts for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with human rights principles and standards.
The Country Representative of UN Human Rights in Uganda who witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the four national institutions also made recommendations to them for consideration as they apply the Human Rights Based Approach to Data (HRBAD). He recommended the need to ensure participation of relevant population groups at all stages such as the planning, data collection as well as during the analysis and dissemination of data and ensuring adequate disaggregation of data to enable clear understanding of issues affecting specific populations groups such as the vulnerable persons. “Data collectors should always provide clear and openly accessible information about their operations including research designs and data collection methodology. Whereas the data and analysis collected by state agencies should be openly accessed by the public, data collectors should be accountable for upholding human rights in their operations, he further guided. Mr. Kotchani also said that the data collected should be used to hold States and other actors to account on human rights issues. He also urged for the need to ensure privacy by data collectors who should protect individual data and uphold confidentiality of individuals’ responses and personal information entrusted with them by respondents. “If we are to implement the vision of Leaving No One Behind, data is key. It should be of interest to all policy makers, statisticians and data specialists in government agencies or civil society organisations; development partners as well as human rights advocates in order to ensure respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights in the measurement and implementation of the 20103 Agenda,” he said.
The Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission Mr. S.K Kaggwa in his welcome remarks extended deep appreciation to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Uganda for supporting the Commission to hold the historic ceremony which he said would enhance cooperation between the four entities and strengthen the collection, disaggregation, dissemination and analysis of data among stakeholders. He also lauded the UN Human Rights Office, Uganda for the financial and technical support rendered to the Commission over the years. “The Commission with support from OHCHR not only trained the UHRC staff but also trained staff from the government ministries, Departments and Agencies including those from UBOS, NPA and OPM on human rights indicators and the Human Rights Based Approach to Data in March 2018. The capacity-building workshop was organized by the UHRC with support from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with funding from the European Union (EU) and the Embassy of Norway, “he noted.
“Today we are witnessing the implementation of one of the resolutions made at the training where participants called for a framework to enhance cooperation to promote greater understanding of the importance of developing and using statistical information to inform, implement and asses national policies and programmes which may impact the respect, protection and enjoyment of human rights, “he said. Mr. Kaggwa also expressed the Commission’s optimism about the cooperation which he said will enable the use of statistical information for the realization of Uganda’s commitments under the 2030 Agenda such that no one is left behind as the required by the global standards.
The accession ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation to apply the Human Rights Based Approach to Data was crowned with a joint press statement by the four entities which was read out by the Executive Director of the National Planning Authority Mr. Joseph Muvawala of behalf of UHRC, UBOS and OPM. The joint press statement highlighted key objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding set up in the framework for cooperation which:
- establishes a platform to promote a greater understanding of the importance of developing and using statistical information to inform, implement, coordinate, monitor and evaluate national policies, programmes and projects which may impact the respect, protection and enjoyment of human rights;
- strengthens cooperation for data collection, disaggregation, dissemination and analysis thus aiding the measurement of progress and ensuring that no one is left behind; as well as ensuring consistency and alignment with international and regional human rights standards and principles;
- supports national planning and the integration of human rights standards and principles in the national planning framework.
The MoU is expected to enable the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to work closely together in applying the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to data collection, analysis and dissemination. The HRBA to Data will help in improving the quality of service delivery by relevant stakeholders for the benefit of the populace.
The signing ceremony was attended by among others the Vice Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament Hon. Agnes Taaka Wejuli and Ms. Victoria Rosoke Businge a Member of the Uganda Human Rights Commission as well as representatives from key stakeholders from the Uganda People’ Defence Forces; Justice, Law and Order Sector; Political Parties; Civil Society Organisations and development partners like the GIZ and members of the media.