The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) was re-accredited to A” status by the United Nation’s International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Human Rights Institutions after having been assessed to be compliant with the Paris Principles. UHRC which has previously held the same accreditation status since 2005 has once again passed the test this year after being considered for re-accreditation at ‘A’ status by the ICC Sub –Committee on Accreditation (SCA) at its session in Geneva which sat from 13 to 17 May 2013.
The decision communicated to the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission Mr. Med S.K Kaggwa by Afarin Shahidzzadeh, the Secretary to the ICC Sub-Committee on Accreditation at the United Nations, Geneva on Friday 24 May 2013 re-affirms UHRC’s outstanding performance as a national human rights institution. The ‘A’ status accreditation of UHRC follows an award it won as best National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) that had contributed the most to human rights work in Africa presented during a special Session to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Corte d’ Voire in October last year.
The Paris Principles are standards that all NHRIs should meet and therefore a key evaluation criterion for human rights institutions. They provide benchmarks against which proposed, new and existing NHRIs can be assessed or “accredited” by the International Coordinating Committee’s Sub-Committee on Accreditation and were adopted unanimously in a resolution by national human rights institutions in 1991 and the UN Human Rights Committee in 1993. The Paris Principles require national human rights institutions to be created under a constitutional or legislative provision, in which the tasks, composition and sphere of competence of the institution are laid out in order to protect and promote human rights in their respective countries. Gaps or shortcomings identified during the accreditation process can serve as a road map to improve NHRIs.
The Paris Principles set out what a fully functioning NHRI is and identify main criteria that these institutions should meet to be successful which among others include having 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. The Uganda Human Rights Commission rating at ‘A’ status is a clear testimony of its high performance on all the above criteria.
Public Affairs Manager
Uganda Human Rights Commission
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