In many countries , community leaders, lawyers, journalists, civil society actors and other individual human rights defenders are facing unprecedented levels of persecution, intimidation and violence as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is undermined and ignored. Many human rights organizations are prevented from carrying out their work and some have been raided by security operatives. The government is trying to prevent the International Criminal Court and the Human Rights Council from fulfilling their mission.
To address the concerns of the Human Rights Defenders, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom or The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 1998. It aims to provide support and protection to human rights defenders (HRDs) in the context of their work and goes beyond the defenders outlining that every citizen has a role in promoting and protecting the human rights of all.
9TH December, 2018 coincides with the commemoration of 20 years of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The Declaration defines an HRD as anyone working towards the promotion and protection of human rights in a non-violent manner. This broad definition encompasses professionals as well as non-professional human rights workers, volunteers, journalists, lawyers and anyone else carrying out, even on an occasional basis, a human rights activity.
The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Uganda (NCHRD-U) plays an integral role in harnessing a transparent and accountable working environment for HRDs in Uganda and since 2015 has taken leadership in efforts towards commemoration of HRD Day. The coalition considers International HRD Day a good opportunity to raise the profile of the work of HRDs and also draw attention to the most pressing challenges of HRDs in Uganda. Working with many key partners and stakeholders, an annual commemoration has been held consistently for the last 3 years.
This year’s commemoration of International HRD day 2018 will seek to create an avenue for recognition of the role of HRDs in Uganda through interface with state actors and duty bearers, commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on HRDs, raise awareness on available National, Regional and international mechanisms for the protection of HRDs and also share experiences and best practices towards the protection of HRDs with
The NCHRD-U will continue to harness and tap into expertise and support from key partners in commemoration of the International HRD day 2018 inclusive of ASF, ACTV, Chapter Four Uganda, Defend Defenders, LASPNET, HRC-U, HURINET-U, HRNJ, ULS,OHCHR and the UHRC.