Uganda Human Rights Commission awarded A-Status for complying with international requirements

Friday, March 8, 2019 - 11:30

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) is celebrating another achievement of maintaining its A status accreditation by the Global Alliance for Human Rights Institution (GANHRI), which certified its compliance with international requirements for a fully functional national commission.

The Accreditation Certificate was received on Tuesday 6th March 2019 by the UHRC Chairperson Mr. Med S. K. Kaggwa in Geneva, Switzerland following a GANHRI assessment done in 2018. Mr. Kaggwa received the certificate during the most important annual gathering of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from all over the world in which they actively engage with GANHRI and with each other on their role in promoting and protecting human rights. This is the fourth time that UHRC gets A-Status accreditation following the previous rounds of assessment done in 2003, 2008 and 2013 to establish whether it met the criteria set by the Paris Principles which all NHRIs are supposed to comply with.

Adopted in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Paris Principles, on which this accreditation is based, set out what a fully functioning NHRI is, outlining the main criteria that these institutions should meet to be accredited. The requirements are that NHRIs should have a broad mandate based on universal human rights standards and competence; autonomy from Government; independence guaranteed by statute or constitution; pluralism including through membership and/or effective cooperation; adequate resources and adequate powers of investigation.

As a result of this vote of confidence, UHRC can participate fully as a voting member in international and regional fora of NHRIs. UHRC will continue enjoying privileges including observer status during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the opportunity to make statements to the Human Rights Council. Already UHRC made statements during the last three UPR reviews of Uganda. As an observer, the UHRC has over the years submitted reports to some of the treaty bodies that were considering the State Reports on specific human rights instruments. The Commission also participated in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Such participation and cooperation with other NHRIs has enhanced the UHRC’s performance at national, regional and international levels.

UHRC’s A-Status accreditation will go a long way to demonstrate government’s commitment to fulfilling the requirements of Sustainable Development Goal No. 16 on the promotion of just, peaceful and inclusive societies. Under this SDG the target is to strengthen relevant national institutions for building capacity at all levels, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime across all countries by 2030.

In this recent process, UHRC was one of the 77 NHRIs globally, that got A-Status accreditation in the assessment that was finalized in February 2018. Out of the 120 NHRIs currently accredited by GANHRI, 33 got B-Status for partial compliance while 10 got C-Status for non-compliance.

This is not the only time UHRC has excelled internationally. In 2012, the UHRC was voted the best NHRI in Africa in recognition of its performance and efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights. The award was given to the UHRC during the commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the African Commission on Human Rights and Peoples Rights held in Côte d'Ivoire during the 52nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.

For the past twenty years of its operation, UHRC has been a model NHRI which other institutions on the continent have used to benchmark their operations and performance. UHRC has provided technical support in the establishment and strengthening of NHRIs in a number of countries in Africa including Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Sudan, Sao Tome, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somaliland, Djibouti South Sudan, Sierra Leone and Burundi. UHRC also works closely with the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) which it has chaired in the past.

GANHRI was born out the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) which NHRIs established at an international conference held in Tunis in 1993, with the aim of coordinating the activities of the NHRI network. In 2016 the ICC changed name to GANHRI.

UHRC is grateful to the Government of Uganda, particularly the Justice, Law and Order Sector, the development partners, other non-state partners, the media and all our beneficiaries and clients for all the support and cooperation rendered to us as well as the confidence that they have placed in us. We pledge to continue soaring and performing to the best of our abilities, to fulfill our constitutional mandate of protection and promotion of human rights.

Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba
Acting Chairperson
Contact: 0772 462 673

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