Sunday, 28 October 2012

U-Report: Uganda Human Rights Commission Is Best In Africa

Report By: The Directorate of Research, Education And Documentation

The Uganda Human Rights Commission has won an award for the best National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) that has contributed the most to the human rights work in Africa.

The award was given by The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights during a Special Session held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’ Ivoire  to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.The ceremony was presided over by President Alassane Outtara of Cote d’Ivoire and was attended among others, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs Navi Pillay and the President of African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Hon Justice Gerald Niyungeko.

In the same ceremony, a similar award was given to the best NGO that has also offered an outstanding contribution to the Commission’s human rights work in Africa. The Pretoria Centre for Human Rights won the NGO Category Award.
Uganda Human Rights Commission was chosen from the list of the 22 African National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) with an Affiliate Status with the Banjul (Gambia) based Commission.
The South African Human Rights Commission was the runner up while that of Cameroon came third.

The Award was received by Secretary Mr. Gordon Mwesigye. Chairman Uganda Human Rights Commission Mr. Med Kaggwa witnessed the function as a member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.

This recognition is geared towards  rewarding the efforts of NGO’s and National Human Rights Institutions that have,  in the African Commission’s opinion, made particular significant and effective contribution to the promotion and protection of human and peoples rights in Africa, with special  reference to the work of the Commission. It is also aimed at strengthening the existing working relationship and cooperation between African NGOs and NHRIs and the Commission, with a view to encourage, inter alia: their efforts at educating human rights stakeholders, carrying out human rights advocacy, monitoring human rights observance on the continent, tracking State Parties’ compliance with human rights norms, involvement in/contribution to state reporting progress, reporting violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter) and helping to hold State Parties accountable for human rights breaches by assisting the victims.

Some of the benchmarks that were used for selecting the winners included among others;
• the  human right’s Institutions current status of compliance with the Paris Principles
• the level of commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, and the strengthening  of democracy and good governance at the national level e.g. through its
 educational role to the public advisory role to the government, regarding the ratification of the international treaties and the harmonization of national laws with international treaty  obligation;
Level of commitment and partnership with other local human rights stakeholders; and level of cooperation with International, Regional and National Institutions that are competent in the areas of the promotion of human rights.

This Award comes in awake of yet another milestone achievement by the Commission, having been rated with an “A” Status by the International Coordinating Committee for National Human Rights Institutions.