The Uganda Human Rights Commission officially launched three of its periodic publications on Media Freedoms and the Rights of Journalists, Workers Rights, and Child Sacrifice in Uganda and its Human Rights Implications on Friday 14th November 2014 at its Head Office in Kampala. The function which was presided over by the Chairperson of UHRC Mr. Med S.K Kaggwa was attended by the Secretary General of the National Organisations of Trade Unions (NOTU) Bro. Ursher Were, the Secretary to the Commission Mr. G.T Mwesigye, members and staff of UHRC and members of the media.
Speaking during the launch, Mr. Kaggwa noted that ‘the investigations which culminated into the reports were prompted by the numerous complaints received by UHRC from workers alleging different violations by their employers including unfair dismissals, poor working conditions and failure to pay remuneration; systemic attacks on journalists and rampant incidences of child sacrifice.’ He cited the increasing incidences of ritual murders involving children as reported for example, in the Police’s Annual Crime and Traffic Road Safety Reports, and numerous complaints from journalists about violations of their rights.
The Uganda Human Rights Commission through the reports launched made a number of recommendations to the various relevant stakeholders after outlining its findings which in its view had a far reaching impact on the enjoyment of human rights in Uganda. The Chairperson of UHRC appealed to Parliament, a number of relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, to support implementation of the recommendations made in the three reports that were launched. In order to enhance the respect and enjoyment of press freedoms, Mr. Kaggwa said ‘the Commission pledges to continue engaging the various stakeholders including media house owners, regulatory bodies, media associations and the journalists themselves. We shall also not waver in calling upon government to fufill its obligation to balance between defending media freedoms and protection from alleged abuses of the rights of journalists.’ In furtherance of workers’ rights in Uganda, the Uganda Human Rights Commission pledged to continue the advocacy for strong workers’ unions, setting of a minimum wage, a fully functional industrial court, an effective labour function in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and enforcement of employers’ obligations and duties among others measures.
Still during the launch of the UHRC periodic publications and in an effort to stem the vice of child sacrifice, the Chairperson UHRC called on the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Uganda Police, the Directorate of Public Prosecution and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to step up efforts to enforce the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, set up psycho-social support mechanisms for victims of child sacrifice and their families and urged the Law Reform Commission to expedite amendment of the Witchcraft Act to answer the current challenges.
The mandate of the Uganda Human Rights Commission to publish periodic and annual reports on the state of human rights and freedoms in the country is a constitutional one aimed at among other things ensuring the protection and promotion of human rights in Uganda as well as monitoring the human rights situation in Uganda and Government compliance with international treaty and convention obligations on human rights. It is also in fulfillment of Uganda’s obligations assented to through both regional and international treaties and conventions. The UHRC committed itself to continue executing its mandate through monitoring the human rights situation in Uganda as well as Government compliance with international and regional treaty and convention obligations on human rights and to continue to publish periodic reports on various human rights issues and not only submit them to Parliament with recommendations for improvement but to also publish findings to name and shame the violators of human rights.
You can access these publications by following this link