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AU Court questions Uganda’s commitment to African human rights protocol

FILE PHOTO: Bobi Wine being arrested for expression towards the OTT tax

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The African Union has questioned Uganda’s commitment to the protocol establishing the African Court on Human and People’s Rights.

Uganda, which is hosting the fourth African Union Judicial Dialogue at Speke Resort Munyonyo, is not signatory to the declaration required under Article 34(6) of the Protocol which established the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in 1986.

The Article empowers individuals and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) whose rights have been abused to file complaints at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights for redress by the Court on condition that domestic mechanisms have been exhausted.

Justice Sylvain Ore, the President of the African Court says Uganda’s impressive track record in establishing domestic human rights mechanisms should be complemented with open access to the court for individuals and NGOs.

Uganda has been in the International spotlight for abusing fundamental freedoms of expression, speech and assembly of opposition politicians during elections. The country has also been criticized for clamping down Non-Governmental Organizations that are accused of supporting opposition political parties.

Justice Ore says such individuals and organizations are unable to access the African Court on Human and People’s Rights without signing and depositing the instrument of the declaration at the secretariat of the court.

In East Africa, only Tanzania has signed the declaration after a group of independent politicians successfully challenged exclusions of independent candidates in general elections. Outside the region, only nine of the 34 countries signatories to the Protocol have ratified the declaration.

Speaking at the same Convention, President Yoweri Museveni urged African judiciaries to prevent the sabotage of African economies by pushing for too much cosmopolitan justice. The president said he is a strong proponent of the Law of Moses – an eye for an eye because human rights activists and defenders have delivered injustices to majority populations by pushing for the scrapping of the death penalties for those who have killed others.

On high case backlogs in African Courts, President Museveni said priorities should be given to delivering justice in industrial disputes with bearing on jobs, availability of food, taxes and national development over justice to those who fought in bars.

According to President Museveni, Africa will never develop without integration into a single economic and political block.

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