Monday, March 27, 2023

Human Rights Gone Awry: A Case of Uganda


  Is Homosexuality a human Right or Human Wrong?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out the basic rights and freedoms of all men, women and children.

Uganda’s human rights record were examined by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in January 2022, in a meeting that was live on UN Web TV  and over 30 Pro-Sodomy recommendations given to Uganda to boost its human rights situation, and gladly enough the Government of Uganda rejected all the problematic Recommendations except 125.178 Increase investment in the health system and infrastructure and ensure improvement in the equitable distribution and availability of sexual and reproductive health and childcare services (Fiji)

Regional and International Instruments, What do they say?

There is no regional or international human Rights instrument that obliges or binds signatory states to advance homosexuality. 

Uganda is not signatory to any regional or international instruments that obliges it to advance Homosexuality

Moreover, the CCPR - International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, One of the core human rights instruments, clarifies that The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized(Article 23(2)).            

 An attempt was made in December 2021, to adopt pro-sodomy language, when the UN General Assembly was adopting a resolution “Strengthening the role of the United Nations in the promotion of democratization and enhancing periodic and genuine elections” and Uganda made  reservations on the homosexuality related provisions.

Over time, the international community has developed and agreed upon certain basic principles which are now the cornerstone of understanding, interpreting and promoting human rights internationally, regionally and at national levels.

The principles are:

(a) Human rights are universal and inalienable

All human beings everywhere in the world are entitled to human rights by virtue of being human. Human rights are not specific to, or the preserve of, the people or a group of people. They are universal because every human being everywhere in the world is born with and entitled to the same rights. Human rights cannot be given up or taken away. They are inalienable.

(b) Human rights are indivisible

Whether the human rights are of a civil, cultural, economic, political or social nature, they all have equal status as rights since they are all inherent in the dignity of every human being. One right cannot be denied or restricted at the expense of another right since they are all equal.

(c) Human rights are inter-dependent and inter-related

The realisation, fulfilment or enjoyment of one human right often depends, wholly or in part, upon the realisation, fulfilment or enjoyment of other rights.

 (d) Equality and non-discrimination

All human beings are equal and entitled to their human rights without discrimination of any kind, on the grounds of race, colour, sex, ethnicity, age, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, disability, property, birth.

(e) Participation and inclusion

Every person, including children, and all peoples are entitled to active, free and meaningful participation in, contribution to, and enjoyment of civil, economic, social, cultural and political development in which human rights and fundamental freedoms can be realised.

(f) Accountability and rule of law

States and other duty bearers are answerable for the observance of human rights. For this purpose, they have to comply with the legal norms and standards enshrined in human rights instruments. Where they fail to do so, aggrieved rights-holders are entitled to institute proceedings for appropriate redress before a competent court or other adjudicator in accordance with the rules and procedures provided by law.

Calls and Threats by western countries on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023, violate the very human Rights Principles they agreed on.

As a concerned Ugandan, East African and African at Large, please take keen interest on the impending threats (That are aimed at legalizing Homosexuality among other vices):

  1. The Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill, 2020 (Parliament of Uganda)
  2. The EAC SRH Bill 2021 (The East African Legislative Assembly)
  3. The EU-ACP Trade Treaty (ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, OACPS Parliamentary Assembly, ACP-EU Council of Ministers, OACPS Council of Ministers, ACP-EU Committee of Ambassadors, OACPS Summit)