By Vivian Agaba
Human rights defenders (HRDs) in Uganda have asked parliament to amend the NGO Act and do away with provisions which hinder the promotion and protection of human rights.
Mohammed Ndifuna, executive director Human Rights Network and a board member National coalition of human rights defenders in Uganda said the NGO Act has provisions that hinder the protection and promotion of human rights.
Ndifuna was speaking at the Human Rights Defenders annual Forum held at Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe. The forum was organized by Human rights center Uganda (HRCU) in partnership with the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Uganda (NCHRDs) sponsored by Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).
Citing the example of the Public Order Management Act, he said it is restrictive especially on the rights to freedom of assembly and association, rights that are crucial to the work of human rights defenders.
“The law still presents an undue burden regarding the process of seeking authorization to peacefully assemble that is bureaucratic and unnecessary,” said Ndifuna.
Ndifuna noted that NGOs find it hard to implement their activities within the time frame especially when working with local people because they (NGOs) have to first seek for permission from Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), something that takes a long time about a week thus hindering service delivery on time.
Margaret Ssekaggya, UN special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in Uganda asked government to well facilitate state institutions such as police and the judiciary that promote and protect human rights in order to carry out their work affectively in helping citizens’ access justice and help prevent corruption which hinders access to justice.
Civil Society wants NGO Act revised