The role of NGOs in monitoring and reporting human rights violations to treaty bodies in Uganda: A case study of selected NGOs
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This study was set out to examine the role played by human rights NGOs in Uganda in fulfilling their obligations of monitoring and reporting before the international treaty bodies. The study was interested in exploring the various roles, challenges and mandate of NGOs in monitoring and reporting human rights violations through shadow/alternative reporting. It employed an analytical approach using both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. Quantitative data included facts and figures arising from the research and in analysing the levels and trends of vital events. This method enabled the researcher using the collected data to analyse the extent of the problem under study. Qualitative methods also assisted the researcher to analyse and present issues difficult to quantify such as opinions, statements, comments and general perceptions regarding issues under study. Findings indicate that Human Rights NGOS in Uganda play a vital role in the submission of information to the treaty bodies, at nearly every stage of their work up to the time of concluding observations, such as during an inquiry procedure, or as part of an early-warning or urgent action procedure. In cases where no State report has been presented and a State is being examined under the review procedure, NGO reports are of even more significance. The submission of information is a key way for NGOs to assist the work of the treaty bodies, especially since committee members rely on the submission of information in order to examine the human rights record of the country as they do not conduct country visits to the respective State parties in order to gather their own information on a regular basis. The study concludes that the current legal environment for civil society in Uganda as and the lack of knowledge on state reporting procedures by NGOs, presents significant obstacles as well as a few opportunities. In order to successfully minimize the obstacles and capitalize on the opportunities, NGOs, donors, and citizens will need to be equipped with adequate knowledge about the reporting procedures to treaty bodies and the legal framework governing civil society and its impact on advancing development goals. Although the legal framework for civil society is one of many factors that affect how conducive the overall environment is for NGOs, without an enabling legal and regulatory environment, both the rights and freedoms of citizens and the breadth and reach of social and economic development recede.