By Peter Ssebulime
Munyonyo: President Yoweri Museveni has challenged the Convention of African Judiciaries on Human Rights to treat issues of human rights violations as secondary to more pressing African challenges.
Museveni said Africa is grappling with two fundamental challenges related to the growth of economies, oppression of mankind by nature and the oppression of mankind by fellow men.
He said that “Nature is oppressing mankind in terms of floods, droughts, earthquakes, and diseases.”
According to Museveni, these issues should be at the heart of man’s priorities as opposed to Human Rights Violations manifested through colonialism, dictatorship, slave trade and other forms of violations.
He added “The legal system in Africa is merely transplanted from the West and needs to be harmonised. Laws should be aligned to society otherwise some laws may end up being an injustice to the population.
African countries are faced with a danger of imposing on their people and their laws liberal concepts of the developed world that cause a clash of African and European cultures; that has made safeguarding of human rights in Africa hard.
About case backlog, I suggest that the judiciary all over Africa prioritise cases by importance. For instance, if you have a case of two men who fought in a bar and a company employing 2000 people, I would think you consider the latter. Let the two men who fought in a bar wait.”
Museveni argued that human rights violations should be addressed under proper contexts which consider the fact that Africa missed the opportunity for growth in three past industrial revolutions.
He revealed this while speaking at the opening of the 4th African Judicial Dialogue on the Roles of Judiciary in tackling contemporary Human Rights issues in Africa, held at the Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo.
He noted that “The primary goal of African judiciaries should be facilitating economic growth job creation, integration, infrastructure and promotion and the protection of civic and economic rights to food, education, jobs, and health.”
Ambassador Thomas Kwesi Quartey, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission said that “As African judiciaries implement Agenda 2063 for creating the Africa we want, there is a strong need to recognize the challenges faced by the continent.”
Justice Sylvain Ore, the President of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, applauded the Ugandan parliament for leading the way in the promotion and protection of human rights through various legal instruments including the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilations Act, Anti Money Laundering, Domestic Violence Act and the Equal Opportunities Commission Act. among others.
The three-day high-level summit brings together Presidents of Supreme Courts of Africa, Chief Justices, Principal Judges and Constitutional and Supreme Court judges as well as members of Parliaments, government ministers and the diplomatic corps from the European and American Courts for human rights.
At the end of the meeting, an Action Plan for addressing some of the above issues will be adopted for implementation in the 33 member states that have ratified the protocol which established the African Court on Human and People’s Rights.