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Rt. Hon. Speaker receives UHRC’s 26th Annual Report, promises full support

Published On May 23, 2024  |  by UHRC

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has presented its 26th Annual Report on the State of Human Rights and Freedoms in the Country to the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Anita Annet Among. While receiving this report from the UHRC team led by the Chairperson Hon. Mariam Wangadya in company of members of the Commission, directors and senior members of staff the speaker acknowledged the need to support the Commission to do its work.

“Your work acts as a bridge between the state and the opposition so we will make sure we support you to enable you do your work. We shall make sure this report put on order paper as soon as possible and then forward it to the committee of human rights for scrutiny and where the committee requires clarification we will always call upon you,” she said.

On the issue of review of Bills before parliament [for human rights compliance] which is also another mandate of the commission, Hon Among promised to ensure all bills are forwarded to the commission for review before they are passed.

“This is a people-cantered parliament so we will make sure that in the 45 days we give for consultation on the any bill, we will always ensure we consult the Commission,” she said.

Prior to presenting the report, the Chairperson first gave a summary of each of the 13 chapters in the report.

“Madam Speaker, the 26th Annual Report highlights the situation of human rights and freedoms in Uganda in the year 2023. The findings are based on the Commission’s monitoring, research and documentation done, as well as the complaints on human rights violations received throughout the year. In each chapter, the UHRC makes recommendations to relevant authorities for their intervention and improvement. Madam Speaker, the report comprises of thirteen (13) chapters, on different thematic issues that UHRC monitored,” Hon. Wangadya explained before she proceeded to highlight what is contained in each chapter.

She also put emphasis on Chapter 11 of the report which enlists the UHRC’s intervention as far as the protection of human rights and freedoms in Uganda is concerned.

“Madam Speaker, in 2023, the UHRC received a total number of 4311 complaints in 2023. Out of the total number of complaints received, 384 complaints were registered as complaints raising alleged human rights violations as guided by the Commission’s admissibility criteria. Regarding inspections of places of detention conducted in 2023, the UHRC conducted 540 inspection visits to places of detention. These included; 267 police stations, 173 police posts, 93 Prisons facilities, 06 remand homes and 01 military detention facility. The main challenges found in prisons included overcrowding and prolonged pre-trial detention. Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) had a total of 259 prison facilities, with a population of 76,943 prisoners. Out of the 76,943 prison population, 40,085 inmates were convicts, 36,284 inmates were on remand and 574 inmates were civil debtors,” she said.

“During the year, the UHRC also conducted Human Rights Education activities targeting duty bearers and rights holders in the formal and informal sectors. The human rights and civic education interventions comprised of: Trainings through workshops, barazas (community meetings), roadshows, radio and television talk shows, production and airing of spot messages, production and translation of the Bill of Rights into local languages, development, design and distribution of information, education and communication (IEC) materials. Members of the public also accessed the Library and Documentation Centres of the UHRC for enhanced understanding of human rights,” the Chairperson noted.

While moving a vote of thanks, Member of the Commission Hon. Crispin Kaheru revealed that he had conducted some research and discovered that the UHRC is the least funded National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in the whole world.

“To reiterate the message from the chairperson, we look forward to Parliament’s commitment to supporting the human rights commission in as far as funding is concerned. I was doing a quick research this morning and I discovered that the UHRC is the least funded in the World. In the world. So that is very telling and we need all the Parliament’s support of Parliament in that direction.”

“We thank you so much from the institutional perspective but also from our personal perspective for saving this time to be with us here and receive our report. We look forward to the continued partnership between Parliament and the Commission,” he said.

Apart from Hon. Kaheru, the other members of the Commission present were; Hon. Shifra Lukwago, Hon. Simeo Muwanga Nsubuga, Hon. Omara Lamex Apitta and Hon. Col. Steven Basaliza. The Directors present were Ms. Ruth Ssekindi who head the Monitoring and Inspection Directorate that spearheads the research and production of this report, Ms. Ida Nakiganda who heads the Directorate of Complaints, Investigation and Legal Services and Ms. Sarah Nakhumitsa who heads the directorate of Regional Services. The rest were heads of Units within the Commission. The Annual Report can now be accessed here https://uhrc.ug/download/uhrc-26th-annual-report-2023/

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