The politics of Uganda Human Rights Commission, 1995-2006
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The Uganda Human Rights Commissions constitutes a central and inescapable position in the promotion and protection of human rights. The unhindered operation of the Commission is yet a standard criterion of modern states yet this still remains a big problem for many states. Governments everywhere have committed themselves to upholding human rights and indeed many states have signed landmark international human rights agreements. To that effect, governments around the world have also set up different Commissions of various forms to try and improve their human rights record. The promotion of human rights is an important aspect in fragile democracies, as well as a fundamental principle of the United Nations and thus of the International Community as long as it exist. Human rights abuses are however remain common and governments often turn a blind eye to human rights violations committed by their allies even with the presence of Human Rights Commissions. The multilateral action to halt or punish large-scale human rights abuses, such as genocide, is uneven at best despite commitments to intervene in the face of such crimes. Why is this so? For what reasons are human rights commissions established? What challenges do human rights Commissions face? How autonomous are Human Rights Commissions despite being set up as independent? This dissertation focuses on these questions with a specific emphasis of Uganda Human Rights Commission. In so doing, the dissertation provides a basic introduction to Human Rights Commission issues first on the international scene then on the domestic scene by examining the following questions: What are human rights? What are the origins of Human Rights Commissions? What are the experience of HRCs in Africa as well as the historical and contemporary experience of HRCs in Uganda? It then identifies politics involved in UHRC. The central proposition in this dissertation is that politics can not be separated from Human Rights Commissions. Indeed, we cannot understand why Human Rights Commissions fail or why other actors respond to human rights abuses in the way they do without examining the political context in which HRCs are established and operate. The research sums up data with discussions, conclusions and recommendations. In the fifth chapter, it shows that politics in the activities of Uganda Human Rights Commission is something unavoidable. This is due to the fact that, those that establish as well as finance the Commission may always have underlying intensions and always have the power to determine its course of action. Consequently, the research concludes by noting that issues of Human rights should not be left in the hands of the state or the even external actors alone but rather should involve people participatory mechanisms that will lead them to collective responsibility over issues of human rights.