Kadaga Upset by Delayed Appointment of Human Rights Commission Chairperson

Since the previous chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission Medi Kaggwa passed away in November last year, no replacement has been appointed, even as the Speaker of Parliament has reminded the president several times
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga received the Rule of Law award from Uganda Law Society President Pheona Wall and Chief Executive Officer Moses Okwalinga.

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The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga says that the delayed appointment of a new chairperson for the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has rendered the body handicapped.

Kadaga made the statement during a meeting with Uganda Law Society (ULS) President Pheona Wall and the ULS Chief Executive Officer Moses Okwalinga who petitioned her office in regard to the operation of the Human Rights body in the absence of the Chairperson.

The previous chairperson of the Commission Med Sozzi Kaggwa died in November last year. However, his position has never been filled a year down the road. 

According to Kadaga, she has on different occasions engaged President Yoweri Museveni about the matter since the absence of a Chairperson has rendered the body’s operations difficult. She said that recently, the Commission was finding difficulties to present its report to her office and that she had to bend the rules.

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Pheona Wall, the Uganda Law Society (ULS) president appealed to the Speaker to ensure that the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Chairperson is immediately appointed saying that the absence of a Chairperson has rendered the entity's tribunal incapacitated.

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Meanwhile, Wall also appealed to the Speaker to ensure the passing of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill 2020 saying that this will help secure a more safe space for human rights defenders.

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In July, Parliament granted leave to Gulu Municipality Member of Parliament Lyandro Komakech to introduce the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill. The MP then said that human right defenders that undertake to defend the rights of other persons like human rights organizations, activists, and lawyers among others have often been the target of repressive measures by the government, security forces and businesses among others.

Komakech says that although human right defenders are supposed to be protected under Article 50 of the constitution, there is a need to enact specific legislation prescribing and guaranteeing the rights of human right defenders.

Besides the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill, ULS also petitioned Kadaga to equally ensure the enactment of the Legal Aid Bill and the Sexual Offences Bill.

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In response, Kadaga said that when the Human Rights Defenders Bill is presented before parliament, it would be explicitly considered.

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During the interface, ULS officials presented Speaker Kadaga with a ‘Rule of Law’ award in recognition of her contribution towards the fight for the Rule of Law, respect and enforcement of Human Rights, her partnership with the Uganda Law Society and the good will towards the people of Uganda.

According to Wall, Kadaga was chosen for the award because she started the first Legal Clinic in the country, the first woman to establish a law firm and her stewardship specifically in the Tenth parliament where she has seen key legislations like the Human Rights Enforcement Act and the Judiciary Administration Act passed.

Uganda Law Society also commended Kadaga for her efforts in ending Female Genital Mutilation, championing inquiries into sexual harassment in schools, the fight against corruption through the Central Bank investigation, rejection of the proposed purchase of radio set receivers for Uganda households to facilitate long distance learning during the Covid-19 lockdown and others.

Kadaga welcomed the award saying that it has energized her to continue speaking for the people.

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