The Honourable Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps present,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
All the Leaders from Karamoja sub-region present,
Development partners present,
Fellow Human Rights Defenders,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I warmly welcome you all to Karamoja on behalf of the Uganda Human Rights Commission and congratulate you and the entire country for marking yet another International Human Rights Day when we join the world to commemorate almost 70 years of the coming into force of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which is the guiding document for our work in the protection of promotion of human rights.
Permit me to also congratulate those who have braved the march through Moroto town and have successfully completed the stretch up to this place, the Boma Grounds. I salute you for your commitment and for joining us to raise awareness about the day here in this sub region.
The Commission is proud to be part of this year’s national celebrations of the International Human Rights Day which have drawn all of us to the Karamoja Sub-region which is the focus of our joint efforts in shining a light on the prevailing human rights issues in this particular region. As the Commission, we welcome all of you here in Karamoja where we have been operating for over a decade now. (Karibuni)
This years’ commemoration which has taken the form of a Human Rights Festival but specifically focusing on the theme: ‘Promoting the Rights of Mining Communities,’ is indeed timely as it has provided an opportunity for the country as well as the entire world to reflect on the issues impacting on the rights of mining communities. The choice of this sub-region also provides an opportunity for us as human rights defenders to re-focus the attention of all stakeholders including private companies as well as government on their obligations as the duty bearers that are enjoined to respect and observe the rights of the affected communities.
I am happy to note that the Uganda Human Rights Commission which opened its Moroto offices in 2004 and later expanded its services in the region by opening Field offices in Nakapiripirit and Kotido has made various interventions by carrying out its various constitutional functions. Allow me to highlight some of the Commission’s interventions which I believe have greatly contributed to the protection and promotion of human rights in the Karamoja sub-region, even as far back as during the days of the disarmament programme. Today we are proud to say that interventions by the Uganda Human Rights in Karamoja include but are not limited to raising awareness of human rights among the communities through Kraal Outreach progammes; enabling communities to access justice and remedies through our tribunal hearings that are held here in Moroto; monitoring the respect and observance of human rights by security agencies that operate in the region; inspecting places of detention in the region to assess the condition of inmates and facilities in order to ensure that human rights standards are complied with; monitoring operations in the mining communities within this region and highlighting issues of concern with the relevant institutions or individuals. The Commission also works closely with institutions that are under the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) in the region to ensure coordinated, efficient and effective delivery of justice to communities.
Permit therefore to at this juncture thank you the Minister who is our Chief Guest today for honoring our invitation and joining us to mark this all important day. I also wish to recognize the support from our long-time development partners operating under the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) who have made today’s function possible. Permit me in to also recognize in a special way the support given to the Commission by the Embassy of France to Uganda towards this event and to thank Mr Darius Tavassoli the Head of Cooperation who is here to represent the Ambassador of France for gracing this occasion with his personal presence. My sincere gratitude goes to the team of technical staff from the Commission and our partner organisations who have worked tirelessly to make this happen.
Today the Commission is proud to join our partners in congratulating the people of Karamoja for the milestones so far attained in the area of human rights and allow me to use this event to pledge the Commission re-commitment to continuing to deliver on our constitutional mandate of protecting and promoting human rights for all.
Let me end by thanking the leadership of Karamoja sub region and specifically Moroto district for hosting us on this important day.
I wish all of you happy celebrations.
For God and My Country
Med S.K Kaggwa