Uganda Human Rights Commission report urges right to health for all

The Uganda Human Rights Commission Chair, Medi Kaggwa

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has presented its annual report on the situation of human rights in the country to Parliament urging the right to health for all Ugandans, without discrimination.

The report, presented on Monday to Parliament, also contains text from Uganda’s Universal Periodic Review (a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council) in which several UN member countries urged Uganda to promote the rights of homosexuals.

Unlike last year’s report in which the commission made deliberate calls to end discrimination against homosexuals, this year the report focuses more on the rights to health for all Ugandans, without discrimination.

Last year, the UHRC said it was “Gravely concerned that homosexual behaviour was criminalized in Uganda.” The state-funded Commission has previously urged the government to observe the human rights of homosexuals in Uganda.

The commission’s position on the subject has in the past earned it rebukes from anti-gay cabinet ministers and legislators, including former Ethics and Integrity Minister, James Nsaba Buturo. However, the Commission’s consistent highlighting of the violent hate crimes meted out to Ugandans for their real or alleged sexual orientation hopes to bring about a change of heart in state policy making circles.

As was the case in two previous reports, torture and inhumane treatment especially from state agents formed the bulk of the complaints in this year’s report, with the Uganda Police being the chief culprit. The Army and the Rapid Response Unit which handles violent crimes, including terrorism were the other highly placed respondents on the torture complaints list.

The Commission Chairperson, Medi Kaggwa called on government to ratify the protocols against torture in Uganda.

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