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Kampala: National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders-Uganda launched

 Press Release

Kampala: National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders-Uganda launched

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, is delighted to officially announce the formation of the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders-Uganda today, Friday 14th June 2013.

The formation of this Coalition marks a historic moment for Ugandan civil society, and represents a major step forward in strengthening the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) across Uganda.

The official announcement of the Coalition’s formation comes at the end of a weeklong workshop held at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala where over 50 grassroots HRDs from across Uganda have contributed to developing the Coalition’s vision, objectives, and a plan of action and a declaration, aimed at enhancing the protection and co-ordination of HRDs. The Coalition extends nationwide, and includes HRDs representing numerous minority groups. Wilber Serusiru, a Batwa HRD from Bufundi Batwa Community, Kabale, welcomed the creation of the Coalition. “For HRDs working in marginalised communities and in remote locations, it will be a great benefit to have the support of a national coalition”.

“The formation of the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders Uganda is a truly historic opportunity for HRDs in Uganda to strengthen and focus on their work”, said EHAHRDP Executive Director, Mr. Hassan Shire Sheikh. “We urge the Ugandan government and national human rights institutions to recognise the legitimacy of HRDs, and to ensure that the principles contained in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted in 1998 are fully respected and incorporated into the national laws and mechanisms”.

The Coalition’s Secretariat will be based at the Human Rights Network Uganda (HURINET-U) in Kampala. “It is exciting and historic that HRDs are finally coming together under one nationwide coalition,” said the Executive Director of HURINET, Mr. Mohammed Ndifuna. “The coalition marks a unique opportunity for HRDs from across the country to share expertise, resources, and best practices in the protection and defence of fundamental human rights”.

The Coalition has been ably guided and advised in its formation by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of HRDs, and Executive Director of the Human Rights Centre Uganda, Mrs Margaret Sekaggya, who has been present at the workshop throughout the week.

“In my experience as a human rights defender, I have witnessed the importance of networking, collaboration and synergy as an important vehicle which gives defenders a greater, unified and credible voice”, said Mrs Sekaggya. “It has led me to repeatedly recommend this as one of the best strategies for an effective human rights coalition. The formation of this coalition is a landmark that will ensure greater realisation of rights within Uganda”.

The acting chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba, has welcomed the formation of the National Coalition for Human Rights – Uganda. “The formation of the coalition provides an opportunity for the commission to bridge the gap between human rights defenders”, he said today. “The commission is committed to continue working closely with other defenders to ensure that this coalition of defenders is a reality for efficient coordination and cooperation at the national level.”

The Coalition will formally be launched at 12.30pm on Friday 14th June, at Speke Resort Munyonyo by His Excellency Stefano Dejak, Italian Ambassador to Uganda.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Hassan Shire Sheikh, Executive Director on +256 772 753 753, [email protected] or [email protected]

Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders on 0414 266 186 or [email protected]

Mr. Mohammed Ndifuna, Executive Director Human Rights Network-Uganda (HURINET-U), on [email protected]

Mr. Edward Serucaca, Convenor- National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders -Uganda on + 256 702 488 612 or [email protected]


Human Rights Defender of the month: Apollo Mukasa

Apollo Mukasa’s journey into activism is deeply rooted in his commitment to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs). As the Executive Director of Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD), Apollo is a driving force behind initiatives aimed at combating discrimination among PWDs. UNAPD was established in 1998 as a platform for voicing concerns of persons with physical disabilities to realise a barrier free environment where they can enjoy their rights to the fullest.