EAC Presidents Told To Respect Human Rights


more about geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>“Protection and promotion of human rights is key for social, information pills political and economic development of the East African region, salve ” EAC Deputy Secretary General,” Hon. Beatrice Kiraso said while opening the two-day meeting yesterday.

“Successful integration will be achieved if East Africans feel their rights are protected and not infringed upon,” she added.

Uganda’s human rights record has been improving of late.

However, senior US diplomat Susan Rice late last year told media in Rwanda there were gross violation of human rights in the country.

She cited suppression of media freedoms, jailing of President Paul Kagame’s rivals and lack of political space for the participation of opposition parties.

Promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights is one of the fundamental principles of the EAC Treaty and is a key component of the EAC programme on good governance.

The meeting acknowledged the progress made in addressing human rights issues in the region, but also recognized that much more must be done to improve the patchy human rights record in most of the EAC countries.

Hon. Kiraso called for continuous evaluation of the situation with a view to narrowing the gaps and devising new strategies to tackle the deficits that presently pertain in the region.

She urged national human rights institutions to keep alive the debate on the extended jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to handle human rights issues, as part of strengthening institutions which will support the process towards political federation of East Africa.

The delegates expressed concern over lack of a regional mechanism to coordinate issues of protection of human rights noting that sometimes duplication of efforts by different players does not yield the required results.

Hon. Kiraso congratulated the Republic of Burundi upon having established the Independent Human Rights Commission in July 2011. She termed it a milestone that reflects the importance of institution building as a way of harmonizing our approach to governance issues.

The Human Rights Commission of Burundi on its part applauded the EAC Forum of Human Rights Commissions as well as the Secretariat for the important and supportive role they played.

The meeting, among others, will consider the implementation status of the EAC plan of action on promotion and protection of human rights and review the Partner States policies and action plans.


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