As International Human Rights Defenders Day is commemorated, State Minister for Agriculture, Animal, Industry, and Fisheries, Hon. Fredrick Bwino Kyakulaga, has lauded the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government as the foremost promoter and protector of people’s rights. Representing the Third Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda at the event organized by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Uganda (NCHRD-U), Hon. Bwino emphasized the government’s role in fostering peace, protection of human rights, and establishing institutions like the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).
The retired Major General highlighted the government’s efforts in investigating human rights abuses and the establishment of the UHRC. He underscored the importance of the 1995 Uganda constitution, which outlines the protection of human rights, defenders, and penalties against perpetrators. Hon. Bwino urged human rights civil societies and non-state actors to collaborate with the government in promoting and protecting human rights, citing initiatives such as road maintenance and food security.
Contrary to this perspective, Mr. Robert Kirenga, the Executive Director of NCHRD-U, expressed concerns about security operatives being the primary violators of human rights in Uganda. Despite existing laws governing the conduct of armed forces, Kirenga pointed to instances of police officers filmed torturing individuals. He emphasized the need for better implementation of human rights laws and increased awareness of individual rights.
The celebration included various activities such as a walk flagged off by Hon. Bwino, tree planting for climate change conservation, and blood donation to support health facilities. Hon. Bwino acknowledged the significance of these activities, stating, “The need to fight for climate change is really paramount in this cause of fighting for human rights.”
However, human rights protection in Uganda remains a contentious issue, with opposition politicians and local individuals criticizing government authorities for alleged torture, arrests of opposition leaders, and actions against National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters.