Kuteesa Defends Uganda’s Human Rights Record, Position on Homosexuality at UN Council

Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kuteesa (Third left) at the UN Human Rights Council

Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, visit this Hon. Sam Kuteesa has defended Uganda’s human rights record which he on Thursday said has undergone several structural and institutional adjustments.

While addressing the UN Human Rights Council during the UN Periodic Review in Geneva Switzerland, order Kuteesa noted that no country has a perfect human rights record adding that Uganda’s resolve to adhere to their observance isn’t resultant of foreign pressures but rather the country’s dark history of dictatorship.

“Uganda supports the peer review process out of the commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights drawing from our bad experience and lessons from our past history of dictatorship. We, therefore, do so not because of any undue pressure or wishes from outside, but because we firmly believe that it is important for our country and people,” Kuteesa said.

Kuteesa cited the National Action Plan (NAP) among other legal frameworks which once approved said will provide abroad policy for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

“The Police, Army and the Prisons Service each has established a Directorate of Human Rights to handle human rights issues, including complaints from the public against any of their respective serving officers,” Kuteesa added.

More often, Uganda has come under pressure from the Opposition, civil society and international watchdogs for violating human rights. Local reports have placed the Uganda Police Force in lead of government institutions that violate these rights the most.

Despite the Opposition accusing government of using the Public Order Management Act (POMA) to suppress their liberties to hold assemblies, Kuteesa said; “Our Constitution guarantees rights of freedom of assembly, association and expression. Government has continued to advocate for a strong, vibrant and responsible free press; for freedom of speech; and broad participation.”

“Our people are continuously being sensitized to understand and appreciate that in enjoying their rights, every person is under obligation to act in accordance with the law.”

Key among recommendations put to Uganda by other states on Thursday was the controversial ‘criminalization’ of same sex relationships and marriages with France, Spain, Slovakia, Netherlands, Austria, Chile and Czech Republic asking that Uganda decriminalize such marriages in which two adults consent.

In his response, Kuteesa said; “We have evidence of prosecution of cases of violence against LGBT persons and others investigated. We do not accept to tolerate any discrimination because of sexual orientation. We will however not equally tolerate promotion of homosexuality.”

He clarified that the Anti Homosexuality Act was challenged in court shortly after its enactment and consequently repealed.

Other recommendations put to Uganda from a range of participating countries included; increasing access to education and health services for women and children and abolition of the death penalty.

Regarding the February general elections, Kuteesa said they were ‘free and fair’ but admitted to ‘some few administrative challenges’ in the process.

“Government is committed to ensuring that the relevant recommendations made by the Supreme Court, together with other proposals to be made by our people on constitutional reforms, will be handled by a constitutional review commission, that will be established,” the Minister said.

“It is important to underscore that it will be up to our people to decide what reforms they want to have. This is in line with our Constitution that explicitly provides for their sovereignty.”


Header advertisement
To Top