By Ahura Mujuni Mark
Yesterday ,the Speaker of Parliament launched a Human Rights Checklist for parliamentarians.The checklist directs members of Parliament to always ensure that the bills and motions they consider pass the human rights compliance test.
The checklist authored by the Parliament Committee on Human Rights was launched at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
Addressing legislators, human rights activists and several participants Speaker Kadaga said the new tool provides a mechanism that would alert MPs to cross check whether the bills they consider comply with human rights.
“It is noteworthy that, whereas the Constitution is emphatic on protecting and guaranteeing human rights and freedoms, there is no guidance from the Constitution to alert Members of Parliament to the inconsistencies that are embedded within the Bills, policy statements, budgets or other business handled by Parliament. It is this that has resulted in some of our enactments being struck down for failure to comply with the human rights contained in our cherished Constitution,” she said.
The Speaker reminded legislators that litigation in the court cases by Ssemwogerere, Andrew Mwenda and Muwanga Kivumbi points to the failure to reconcile the universal demands to promote and protect individual rights and the duties of a free and democratic society.
Rt.Hon.Kadaga noted that although states are the primary duty bearers for the protection and fulfillment of individual rights, the rights are not only endangered by states but also the actions of some individuals.
“The people of Uganda will not find comfort until the rights of all are observed. Although the Constitution provides a whole chapter on human rights, it requires a human rights bill to help in the implementation of its provisions. The absence of the human rights Act will be addressed by the checklist,” she said.
The Speaker decried the use of bucket toilets in the Police cells in Uganda and labelled the practise one of the most dehumanising things that can happen to human being.