UHRC has decided to engage students in debate competitions to enlighten them about human rights and their observance.
Uganda human rights commission (UHRC) has expressed concern over the low levels of human rights awareness in secondary schools in the country.
“We have moved in most parts of the country, but the level of human rights awareness especially in secondary schools is wanting and urgent interventions must be sought to address the plight,” said Ida Nakiganda, the director complaints investigations and legal services.
Nakiganda said that the commission has decided to engage students in debate competitions to enlighten them about human rights and their observance.
She said the commission wants students to fully understand human rights observance and protection so as in future observance of human rights becomes a matter of priority.
Nakiganda said that through the debates, the students will be enlightened on their rights and responsibilities in human rights for the development of the country.
The debates are running under the motion ‘Respect for human rights is a precondition for development in Uganda’.
She said that some students do not know their rights even while in school and yet these are the future citizens who should be promoters of human rights in the community and the schools they attend.
Nakiganda said that they want to establish whether the students can ably show the interconnectivity of human rights and development in the country and also engage leaders on issues to do with human rights.
“We want you to engage your leaders on issues of human rights violation and this is the objective of organizing such debates. How can students ably discuss and show the inter-connectivity of human rights and development,” said Nakiganda.
She said that the commission wants future leaders who can confidently argue human rights issues with facts right from school and in the work places.
Nakiganda said that the youths in the country are increasingly engaging in betting and gambling, which is not a good indicator in the development of the country.
Over 20 students participated in the debates for Kagadi district held at Kagadi model primary school in Kagadi town. The schools that were engaged in the debates were Kagadi secondary school, Naigana secondary school, Uganda Martyrs secondary school Mugalike, Bwikara secondary school and St. Adolf Tibeyalirwa secondary school Muhorro.
The preposition side argued that the existence of human rights has led to women emancipation and this consequently resulted into the fast development of the country hence a precondition for development of the country.
Brian Kisembo said that fair hearing promotes peace in the community and justice which in turn leads to development. Observance of human rights has led to abolition of slave trade which was exploitative in nature and this has led to development of the rural areas.
But the day was taken by the opposition who made several references to human rights and how such rights have been an impediment to development.
Evaristo Tuhumwire from St. Adolf Tibeyalirwa secondary school Muhorro argued that human rights are not a precondition for the development of the country saying that tourism, desire to work, security, security and industrialisation among others are a precondition to development, but not human rights.
Arthur Odong, the lead adjudicator declared St. Adolf Tibeyalirwa secondary school as the winners and Bwikara secondary school were the first runners up and both were awarded with trophies as an encouragement.
Odong noted that the debates are still below average because out of the schools that participated, it was only one that above average slightly with the rest below the 50% mark.Kakumiro.