ARUA. Human rights defenders have called for a collaborative intervention in promoting human rights in Uganda.
The rights defenders that comprised Uganda Human rights commission, the Uganda police, the media and members of Civil society organizations were speaking during a dialogue meeting organized by National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Uganda on Wednesday in Arua district.
Director of National Coalition for Human Rights defenders, Mr Robert Kirenga noted that some of the human rights defenders do not observe the rightful code of conduct in the process of interfacing with other human rights defenders like the police, which can lead to misunderstanding.
He called upon human rights defenders to follow the law and have respect in the process of conducting other actors like the state actors.
“There are some state actors who misunderstand the role of human rights defenders and who may end up not observing professional ethics of human rights, including the law. The other thing can be attributed to us as human rights defenders, especially on how we conduct ourselves when we meet these state actors as some of us are confrontational”, Kirenga noted.
West Nile Regional Human rights and legal officer in Uganda Police, Mr James Gibaba noted that there is need for human rights actors to observe professionalism by use of rightful channels while presenting human rights issues at Police, other than perceiving police as unfair public servants.
“Let’s have a line in whatever we do and let's be professional in whatever we do so that at the end of the day, these rights are being enjoyed while following necessary standard operating procedures” Mr Gibaba said.
Mr Felix Warom, the Daily Monitor beural chief for Arua who represented West Nile press association complained of continuous police brutality against journalists in other parts of Uganda, an action that he said portrays police as an agency that does not protect human rights in the public.
He called upon journalists to apply professionalism while on duty so that security agencies cannot have problems with them.
Legal officer for Uganda human rights commission attached to the West Nile office, Mr Bosco Okurut disclosed that they have had good working relationships with other human rights defenders in the region, the media in particular.
Meanwhile, legal officer with Legal Aid project, Uganda Law Society, Ms Samsha Drajiru said women continue to face challenges of stereotype in the society, something that human rights defenders have not addressed fully yet.
” Societal attitude towards women and women leaders has so much been stereotyped. There are certain things that the society believes women cannot do”,