The Uganda Human Rights Commission(UHRC) has been commended for capturing socio-economic issues in their 25th annual report.
Departing from the typical focus on political and civil rights, the report shines a light on critical concerns such as hunger, landslides, disease outbreaks, environmental challenges, and access to vital resources like water and fishing.
On Friday, May 19, 2023, UHRC Chairperson Mariam Wangadya, alongside other Commissioners, presented the report to Adolf Mwesige Kasaija, the Clerk to Parliament, who represented the Speaker. Kasaija praised the Commission's comprehensive approach, noting that the report brings attention to crucial challenges that had previously been overlooked.
He further commended the UHRC for addressing pressing issues such as hunger, famine, landslides, and disease outbreaks, including the impact of Ebola and COVID-19. "I saw you mentioning things like fuel prices, talking about famine, talking about the environment, social security, Ebola. This, for me, is impressive because you are tackling the real issues that affect the people," he stated.
The report also delves into environmental concerns and recognizes access to water and fishing as fundamental human rights. Additionally, it highlights the adverse effects of fuel prices on the lives of Ugandans.
Expressing his appreciation, the Clerk commended the UHRC's ability to inspect places of detention, viewing it as a positive step for democracy.
Wangadya drew attention to the increasing number of complaints from citizens, revealing that 4,370 complaints were registered in 2022 compared to 3,624 in 2021. Out of these complaints, 691 cases were officially registered.
"We believe that our recommendations to the government, if complied with, will strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. We urge the Committee on Human Rights to consider the report with the importance it deserves," Wangadya emphasized.
She also called upon the government to provide adequate funding for the Commission, stressing the urgent need to improve salaries and address the depleted fleet of motor vehicles. Currently reliant on donor funding, UHRC requires sustained support from the government to effectively carry out its statutory obligations.