Human Rights Activists Call On Parliament To Fast Track Defenders Bill 2021.
Human Rights Activists have called on parliament to expedite the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders’ Protection Bill, 2021, to protect defenders of human rights from perpetrators of human rights violations.
The Bill provides for recognition of Human Rights Defenders and also charges the government with an obligation to protect them.
Robert Kirenga the Executive Director of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders’ Uganda told Members of the Greater North Parliamentary Association who are pushing this private member’s bill that many activists have suffered arbitrary arrests and intimidation from state actors especially RDCs when they go out to defend rights victims of land evictions.
The Human Rights Defenders want the bill under consideration to provide them with recognition to enable them to work amicably with state agencies. They explained the difficulties they face to relate with government agencies due to lack of recognition.
Human Rights Defenders have decried the closure of the Democratic Governance Facility(DGF), a consortium financing activities of human rights activism that has paralyzed their operations.
The bill charges the government with an obligation to protect human rights defenders. However, Human Rights Defenders contest clause 20 of the bill that provides for compulsory registration of all actors by the Human Rights Commission. They claim that if registered they will be easily suffocated by state actors.