“Investments and the various business activities while building the economy have come with a number of social challenges and costs. People have been displaced by evictions and infrastructure development projects..."
PIC:Left to right: Chairman board of Human rights network Uganda John Mary Odoy, executive director Global rights alert Winfred Ngabiirwe and Chairperson Uganda Human Rights Commission Med Kaggwa addressing the press during a conference at the Uganda Human Rights Commission offices in Kampala on September 13, 2016. Photos by Racheal Nassuuna.
Rights activists have blamed Government of evicting people in the name of investment and infrastructural development.
The activists urge that as much as there are laws to regulate business activities, people's labour rights have been abused and the environment degraded by both domestic and international investors.
"Investments and the various business activities while building the economy have come with a number of social challenges and costs. People have been displaced by evictions and infrastructure development projects. Also in pursuit of profits, business entities have degraded the environment, polluted the air and exploited labour in ways that subject employees to unfavourables conditions and terms of service," said Med Kaggwa, the chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission.
Kaggwa also noted that this is happening because government structures mandated to implement the laws and regulations are weak and in some cases under funded.
Kaggwa made these remarks at a media briefing held at the Uganda Human Rights Commission offices on Tuesday, ahead of a two-day national conference on economics, social and cultural rights under the theme: Business and human rights in Uganda.
The conference set to take place at the Makerere University main hall is organized by Public interest law clinic, Initiative for social and economic rights, Social justice in health, Global rights Alert, and Uganda Consortium on corporate accountability.
The conference is targeting 600 participants including policy makers, officers from independent statutory bodies, practitioners and activists, academics, researchers and members of the general public. The wider population will benefit indirectly from the outcomes of the conference.
Guests include Dr Michael Addo, member of the UN working group on business and human rights and Alfred Brownell, executive director, Green advocates, Liberia.
Speaking during the briefing, Prima Kwagala a program's manager at the Centre for health rights and development said that people can still do business and respect people's rights.
"If Social economic problems and challenges are to be tackled effectively, we need to acknowledge their existence, investigate the root causes and find appropriate solutions for socio-economic and cultural rights friendly environment," said Kwagala.
She said when investors are constructing road, they take long to finish the road and hence end up blowing dust to people. So many people have been displaced because of stone quarry, all this can be stopped if the government starts monitoring.