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Wakiso takes lead to institute district human rights committee

Ruth Ssekindi (right), Matia Lwanga Bwanika (with glasses) and other guests sign the visitor’s book after launching Wakiso district human human rights committee chaired by Kasirye (center). Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Wakiso has taken the lead to institute a district human rights committee as recommended by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) many years ago.

The acting chairperson of UHRC, Dr. Katebalirwa Amooti says that whereas 27 districts including Budaka, Bukedea, Busia, Hoima, Isingiro, Kiboga, Soroti and others established human rights desks in 2018, the mandate of the district committees is much higher and called for.

In a message read for him by Ruth Ssekindi, the director monitoring and inspections at UHRC during the launch of the district human rights committee, Katebalirwa praised Wakiso for taking up the idea early enough.

He applauded Wakiso for taking the first initiative among all districts in Uganda and called upon other districts to emulate this example to ensure that human rights protection and promotion becomes part of the norm in the country.

Dr. Katebalirwa says that in the execution of its mandate, the commission has established 10 regional, 12 field and the head office adding up to 23 in total which should receive and investigate complaints of human rights violation and also conduct awareness of the human rights situation in the country.

He explained that although the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights lies in the hands of government, the promotion of human culture in districts and communities is vital in the realization of those rights in society.

The commission believes that district councils play a critical role in ensuring that no one is left behind in government programs and they need to be guided by the district human rights committees to respect people’s rights as they do their work.

Wakiso LC5 chairperson Matia Lwanga Bwanika said that the district will not stop at forming the committee but it is rather aiming at creating human rights desks at all levels of lower local governments whose capacity has to be built.

He however explained that the committee is facing budget constraints since it does not have any support from the central government but assured that with assistance from partners, it will manage to deal with its obligations.

Sheila Muwanga, the deputy director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) said that a lot is expected from the Wakiso district human rights committee because it is instituted at a time when human rights in the country are at crossroads.

The committee which is chaired by Elly Kasirye, a human rights scholar is composed of the district community development officer John Kyejjusa as the secretary, the district police commander represented by the community liaisons officer Samuel Okodos, prisons, the media and the district technical staff among others.

Kasirye said that facts on the ground indicate high violation of human rights in homes and land grabbing cases in Wakiso district.



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