By Spy Uganda
Human Rights defenders in Uganda under various Civil Society Organizations Tuesday convened at Metropole Hotel Kampala to daft the 3rd cluster of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report for 2021/2022 to be presented to United Nations Human Rights Council (UN Human Rights Council). In November 2016, Uganda completed its 2nd cycle review wherein it accepted 143 recommendations, deferred 18 and rejected 65 which encompass various Human Rights and Freedoms. In January/February 2022, Uganda shall undertake its 3rd cycle review before the UN Human Rights Council.
The stakeholders’ reports are expected to be submitted to the UN-OHCR before or July,1, 2021, while the state report on the same is expected before October, 21, 2021 as per UN Human Rights council tentative programme.
Uganda is expected to be reviewed by the UN along with Togo, the Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela (the Bolivarian Republic), Iceland, Zimbabwe, Lithuania,Timor-Leste, Republic of Moldova, Haiti and South Sudan all in the 40th session, tentatively scheduled for Jan/Feb. 2022.
Based on the above aforementioned time-line for Uganda’s journey to the 3rd cycle review, both the government of Uganda and the CSOs under the National Stakeholders’ Forum for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) commenced preparations to ensure that there is effective participation of their respective constituencies udder the given timelines.
In particular, the National Stakeholders’ Forum for the UPR that was hosted by the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders on Tuesday June 1, 2021, in partnership with Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ-U), HUB among others, came up with a road map to CSO’s participation in the 3rd cycle, starting with training on the universal periodic review for Media freedoms and freedom of expression cluster.
Among the participants included TheSpy Uganda Chief Executive Officer, who also doubles as president of online journalists under their umbrella organization Independent Online Journalists Association-Uganda (Indoja-U) and Executive member National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Andrew Irumba Katusabe. Irumba, in his submission explained NAB’s role in the defense, promotion and protection of journalists. “Although NAB’s primary role is mainly policy advocacy, we have under the leadership of our able Chairman Kin Kariisa done a commendable job in mending relations between the state security apparatus and our foot soldiers on ground. You all remember the recent scuffles our journalists encountered with security while covering the recent elections. But you also remember all the efforts and infrastructure NAB put in place to ensure the Rights of journalists are respected. The recent friendly match was among those peaceful means we put in palace to ensure we continue talking as brothers and sisters as we solve issues whenever need arise,” Irumba revealed.
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Below Are Some Of The Objectives For The Tuesday Meeting;
1. To provide a platform to members of the Media freedoms and freedom of expression cluster to review contributions.
2. To develop and build a consensus on a specific cluster road map leading up to the Jan-Feb, 2022, when Uganda shall be reviewed to guide the advocacy initiatives of the cluster both within the country and at the UN Human rights council session.
3. To deliberate on the progress Uganda has achieved in implementing the recommendations issued in 2016 and also the emerging developments within the same period on Media freedoms and freedom of expression cluster. These deliberations shall eventually inform the cluster report priority areas of focus.
4. Deliberate on and generate consensus on possible advocacy initiatives and partners to be engaged by the cluster both within Uganda and beyond on the eve of Uganda’s review.
About National Coalition For Human Rights Defenders
NCHRD-U was established in 2013 with 58 members. The coalition has nearly doubled in size since then and now consists of 149 individual and organizational members from across the Human Rights sector in Uganda.
Defenders have established and continue to support national coalitions of Human Rights defenders (HRDs) in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia, and Uganda. The coalitions form part of a network across the East and Horn of Africa through which HRDs can come together and claim their rights at the national level.
As national mechanisms, they are in a unique position to reach HRDs working in remote areas, who often lack access to support systems and are most vulnerable. The national coalitions play a vital role in implementing capacity-building activities and providing protection for HRDs across the sub-region.