Mid Term Assessment of the State’s Progress in Implementation of the UPR 2nd Cycle Recommendation On HRDs

Kampala-06th October,2020). Today we launched our mid-term Assessment of the state’s progress in implementation of the Universal Periodic Review(UPR). UPR is mechanism through which the human rights council assesses the human rights situations in each UN member state and is a state driven process. its major goal is to improve human rights situations on ground, encourage governments to fulfill their human rights obligations, advancing human rights for all and sharing best practices. The review is based on the UN charter, UN declaration on human rights and treaties to which states are party to.

Since 2015, the CSOs in Uganda have coordinated their work on the UPR under the NGO Stakeholders Forum, as a loose coalition of over 350 NGOs – coordinated by the “National Steering Committee’’ and disaggregated into 15 thematic clusters. In this framework, based on the countrywide experience and membership achieved by the Coalition with support from OHCHR, it was selected to lead and coordinate the thematic cluster on the work of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs). As result of the CSO coordination by the NGO Stakeholders Forum, the number of NGOs and CSOs who submitted reports experienced a significant increase, from 27 in 2011 to 54 for the second UPR review of 2016.

On 3 November 2016, Uganda underwent its second UPR review conducted by the Human Rights Council. A report of this review was formally adopted by the Human Rights Council at its 34th session, which was held between 27 February and 24 March, 2017. In this second UPR review, Uganda received 226 recommendations of which, 148 were accepted and were 78 noted.

Between July and October,2019, the NCHRD-U commissioned a study on an assessment of the state’s implementation of recommendations that directly affect Human Rights Defenders in Uganda. Our focus was on the mid-term reporting. The charter based mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review are a core component of our advocacy work at the coalition.

“We are here to present to you the final findings. These findings are a result of in-depth discussions with Human Rights Defenders from across Uganda and state actors. We are deeply grateful to the Democratic Governance Facility who under the framework of an 18month project “Protection of Ugandan Human Rights Defenders” supported this activity.” Robert R Kirenga Executive Director NCHRD-U, HRDs continue to come under attack by state and non-state actors by being subjected to harassment, trumped-up charges, intimidation, arbitrary arrests, and digital surveillance. This pattern is worrying and more so during the electoral cycle. The NRM Primaries presented some indications on how the electoral process is likely to form up.”

Robert R Kirenga Marks Opening Remarks
Robert R Kirenga Marks Opening Remarks

The mid-term assessment that is being launched today by the National Coalition of HRDs provides an opportunity to evaluate state’s progress in implementation of UPR recommendations in Uganda, and to track emerging human rights concerns that ought to be raised by the civil society organizations in the next UPR review of Uganda by the UN Human Rights Council which is scheduled to take place during the 40th session of the Council, in November 2021.

As recognised in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular in SDG 16.10, Human Rights Defenders play a key role in advancing development of our societies, including by promoting human rights, gender equality and access to justice. Human Rights Defenders engage in efforts to strengthen legal and policy frameworks, and they seek to advance effective implementation of these frameworks in practice. Human Rights Defenders assist people in seeking justice and claiming their rights. They draw attention to areas that require improvements and make concrete recommendations as to address such challenges.

Ms Nicole, Head of DFG Officiates at the Launch
Ms Nicole, Head of DFG Officiates at the Launch

“The DGF is honoured to support Human Rights Defenders and entities with a clear mandate to protect them, including the Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Centre Uganda, the Human Rights Network for Journalists, and of course our hosts today. the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders Uganda.” Ms. Nicole Head of facility Democratic Governance Facility

In his remarks as he launched the Assessment, the head of office United Nations Mr Robert Kotchani stated, as Uganda prepares for this third UPR Review, your role as civil society in this process cannot be overemphasised. OHCHR continues viewing the participation of the CSOs as an integral and crucial element of the UPR reporting process.

James Nkuubi - Presents the mid-term assessment

“OHCHR’s will continue working towards in fulfillment of its mandate to provide technical assistance to both national authorities and civil society organizations, in order to support their engagement with international human rights mechanisms, particularly, with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism. In this framework, I want to reassure you that you can always count on the support and the collaboration of OHCHR in Uganda in your endeavours for the improvement of the human rights of all the people of Uganda” said Mr.Robert Kotchani Head office of the UN.

Lt. Col. Deo Barikona, the head of the Human Rights Department in UPDF also noted that the forces are working hard to preach the principle of human rights among officers. He disclosed that UPDF has heavily invested in sensitizing its officers and educating them that any rights abuse is heavily punishable

An assessment of the state’s implementation of the UPR 2017 – 2019