Basing on its observations on Uganda’s initial Report of 12th May 2016, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities made recommendations to the State among which some were assigned to the Equal Opportunities Commission in the 18th Report of the Uganda Human Rights Commission. In a bid to respond to the recommendations assigned to it, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights on 12th April 2017.
The meeting which was convened at Parliamentary building was chaired by Hon. Safia Nalule Juuko– Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament together with other committee members including Hon. Isa Eragu, Hon. Veronica Bichetero, Hon. Simeo Muwanga Nsubuga, Hon. David Abara, Hon Moses Ayaka Atima and many others. The EOC was represented by the Chairperson – Mrs. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi and the Commissioner Education, Training, Information and Communication – Mr. Julius Kamya.
Hon. Safia Nalule Juuko keenly listening to the Chairperson’s presentation of the initiatives which the Commission has engaged in to address the recommendations
In her remarks, Mrs. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi presented the initiatives which the Commission has taken towards accomplishing the recommendations. These among others included collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development and other disability stakeholders to fast-track the Persons with Disabilities Bill before Parliament, whose provisions comprehensively cover children with disabilities. Educating the masses on the existence of the Commission’s social justice delivery mechanism that is accessible to all who are marginalized or discriminated against – including those who are paid less in comparison with counterparts who do work of equal value. Conducting of research on the physical accessibility of Persons With Disabilities to selected public facilities to collect information on the situation of persons with disabilities. The Commission has also worked with NCD, Sight savers and other stakeholders, to conduct and appraise a study on the participation of Persons With Disabilities in the electoral processes of Uganda in a bid to Inform them on their right to vote.
In response to the Commission’s interventions presented, Hon. Safia Nalule Jjuuko recommended that the Equal Opportunities Commission identify institutions which work with ethnic minority groups to respond to some of the recommendations raised in the report. She also requested the Commission to draft laws promoting the rights of albinos because they experience multiple forms of discrimination citing an example of albino students in Moyo district who were chased out of school due to their blind state.
Other recommendations made by the Committee included the Commission ensuring those convicted of torturing Persons With Disabilities are doubly penalized since States agreed to it in the last convention against torture organized by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. Working closely with UNICEF to collect information on the situation and statistics of persons with disabilities in the country. Ensuring that when institutions are recruiting employees, they should be equity sensitive by catering for all groups of persons for instance by recruiting staff from each region in the country. The Commission was further requested to conduct a study to determine whether there are stateless people in the country and as well recruit more staff to roll out its mandate across the country.
In closure of the meeting, Mrs. Ntambi appreciated the remarks from the Human Rights Committee members and pledged to take into consideration all that had been recommended.