Government shall only endorse demands by human rights activists if they are within the constitution, a government official has said. In October 2011, Uganda underwent the first Universal period review process established in accordance with the Human Rights Council in Geneva, in which 171 recommendations on all aspects of human rights were made.
Government shall only endorse demands by human rights activists if they are within the constitution, a government official has said.
In October 2011, Uganda underwent the first Universal period review process established in accordance with the Human Rights Council in Geneva, in which 171 recommendations on all aspects of human rights were made.
Ambassador David Etuket, the Director for International Cooperation in the ministry of foreign affairs, says government accepted to be reviewed on the basis that it has been committed on the enjoyment, protection and promotion of human rights.
Ambassador Etuket who declined to cite examples of some Bills says government accepted to implement 110 recommendations because they were inline with their commitment in the human rights.
42 of the recommendations were deferred because they required further consultations with stake holders considering they had bearings on Uganda’s legal and institutional frameworks.
Some of the Bills undergoing scrutiny before Parliament include the Anti- torture Bill and the Public order and management bill. Members of the Human rights council expressed concern about these bills if enacted and called for them to be brought in line with international human rights standards.
It was agreed that Uganda would report back to the council in Mid March.
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Uganda also stated that it had some misgivings about 19 recommendations especially regarding homosexuality. 16 western countries proposed that Uganda publicly announce the shelving of the proposed Bill on homosexuality and decriminalize homosexual behaviour.
The activists called on the Ugandan Parliament to dismiss and reject the Bill and decriminalize relationships between consenting adults and unconditionally release all persons currently detained for the reason of homosexuality alone among others.
However, the delegation led by Okello Oryem, the Foreign Affairs state minister argued that it is a private members Bill and that the executive has no powers to stop it in Parliament.
Ambassador Etuket says regarding homosexuality Uganda’s views must be respected as it does for other countries.
He adds that government has no problem with homosexuals practicing the act in their bedrooms as long as they do not promote the practice especially in schools.
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The United States of America raised concern of President Yoweri Museveni calling for constitutional amendments to limit rights to bail. The delegation argued that the President is a Ugandan with equal rights and no one can stifle his constitutional rights.
He was simply exercising his rights as stated under Article 29 on the protection of freedom of conscious expression, movement, religion, assembly and association.
The US also raised the issue of safe houses for torture to which the head of the Ugandan delegation refuted saying there is no such thing. Ambassador Etuket says it’s the prerogative of the US to come and provide evidence before making the allegations.
At the review, Uganda committed to develop and implement a national action plan on human rights issues. It also committed to carry out annual review of the human rights situation in the country and establish a cabinet sub committee to provide policy oversight and guidance.
It further agreed to mainstream human rights issues in all aspects of governance and in the training curriculum of security agencies among others.
However, last week the Human Rights Network stressed for a quick implementation of the National Action Plan so that its outcomes are assessed.
Ambassador Etuket argues that implementation of the national action plan is not a one month process since consultations with all stakeholders are underway for its end product to reflect views of Ugandans.
universal periodic review on human rights
ambassador david etuket
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