The Uganda Human Rights Commission(UHRC) has been commended for capturing socio-economic issues in their 25th annual report.
Breaking away from the tradition of focusing solely on political and civil rights, the report sheds light on critical concerns such as hunger, landslides, disease outbreaks, environmental challenges, and access to essential resources like water and fishing.
UHRC Chairperson, Mariam Wangadya, on Friday, 19 May 2023 alongside other Commissioners presented the report to the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige Kasaija, who represented the Speaker.
Kasaija praised the commission’s comprehensive approach, stating that the report acknowledged critical challenges that had been previously overlooked.
He also commended the UHRC for addressing concerns such as hunger, famine, landslides, and disease outbreaks, including the impact of ebola and COVID-19.
“I saw you mentioning things like fuel prices, talking about famine, talking about environment, social security, ebola, this for me is impressive because you are tackling the real issues that affect the people,” he said.
The report also delved into environmental issues and recognised access to water and fishing as fundamental human rights. Additionally, it highlighted the adverse effects of fuel prices on the lives of Ugandans.
UHRC raised concerns about the increasing number of Human Rights violations in the country, mainly by security organs.
The latest report released by the Commission indicates a 20% increase in the number of cases registered.
The Clerk expressed his appreciation for the commission’s ability to inspect places of detention, which he viewed as good for democracy.
Wangadya highlighted the increasing number of complaints from citizens. 4,370 complaints where registered in 2022 compared to 3,624 in 2021. Out of the complaints, 691 cases were registered.
“We believe that our recommendations to government if complied with will strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. We urge the Committee on Human Rights to consider the report with the importance they deserve,” she said.
Wangadya called upon the government to provide adequate funding for the commission, emphasizing the urgent need to improve their salaries and address the depleted fleet of motor vehicles.
She also stated that currently they are heavily reliant on donor funding, and yet UHRC requires sustained support from the government to carry out its statutory obligations effectively.
The commission later publicly launched the 25th Annual Report on the State of Human Rights and Freedoms in 2022 at Protea Hotel Kampala
Credit: Parliament of Uganda