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Cabinet Sets up 9 Member Committee to Tackle Human Rights Abuse

Government has established a nine-member sub-committee to address human rights abuse.

The decision was reached during the October 31 cabinet meeting chaired by President Museveni.

The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Mr Norbert Mao, who will chair the subcommittee, said it would: “…provide an institutional framework at a strategic level to spearhead a coordinated and holistic approach to human rights.”

Mr Mao will be deputised by Internal Affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire. Other members are the Attorney General,  Secretary General of NRM, ministers of Defence, ICT, Gender, Labour and Social Development, Security, among others.

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Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of Information and National Guidance, said the subcommittee would strengthen monitoring and reporting issues on human rights.

“It is a subcommittee of Cabinet put in place to support monitoring and reporting on issues of human rights in the country. The decision was taken in 2011 so it’s just being actualised by the current minister,” he said.

The committee comes in the wake of numerous reports of human rights abuses, where state apparatus, especially security agencies have been implicated.

The Opposition has repeatedly accused the State of illegal and arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearances.

Dr Baryomunsi, however, distanced the move to have any connection with the public outcry on human rights abuses. “It has nothing to do with the Opposition outcry or whoever is crying, but we thought we could strengthen the function of monitoring human rights in the country,” he said.

He added: “The committee is to support the relevant ministers dealing in human rights issues with additional efforts so that there is timely reporting but also that when there reports coming to Cabinet, this committee will have time to scrutinise them to reduce the time Cabinet has been spending to look through them.”

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