The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), the Human Rights Network (HURINET-U), the Human Rights Centre (HRC), Uganda (HRC-U), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and other human rights actors will hold a series of activities to commemorate the International Human Rights Day 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 include an 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 will also be attended be 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 intention is 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. It is expected that the visiting team will identify gaps and make recommendations to government and the hospital administration.
UHRC and partners will hold a Human Rights Walk from the Chogm Square in Kampala to Old Kampala Secondary School on Tuesday 10th December starting at 8:00am. The main objective of the human rights walk which is expected to have the Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. Aronda Nyakayirima as the chief walker, and also bring other participants from various organisations together is to draw public attention to the International Human Rights Day and its theme among the general public. The walk is 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 Human Rights Walk will culminate into speeches by the chief walker; representatives of international agencies present and the Ambassador of Netherlands H.E Alphons J.A.J.M.G Hennekens. Other speeches on the theme will be delivered by the Acting Chairperson of UHRC Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti; Ms Birgit Gerstenberg the Head of Office of UN Office of the high Commissioner for Human Rights, Uganda; Ms. Margaret Sekaggya the UN Special Rapporteur for Human rights Defenders and a representative of civil society organisations from HURINET (U) .
The main event will also feature a Human Rights Fare during which each of the participating organisations involved in the promotion and protection of human rights will show case their work and create a platform to interface with the public and explain to them their different mandates and how the various services can benefit Ugandans.
Still at the main event at Old Kampala Secondary School, a total of thirteen organisations will receive 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. The Awards will go to various organisations whose long walk in human rights work in areas including 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.