International Women Human Rights Defenders Day 2020

International Women Human Rights Defenders Day 2020 Commemoration in Uganda

On the 27th November 2020, a group of Women Human Rights Defenders convened at the Alliance Of Women Advocating for Change offices to commemorate the International Day of Women Human Rights Defenders that is celebrated on 29th November every year. The theme for this years commemoration was “In the uncertain times of COVID-19: WHRDN-U calls for the recognition of the essential work of Women Human Rights Defenders.”

Brenda Kugonza speaks at the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day 2020
Brenda Kugonza speaks at the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day 2020

Message From Harriet Lamunu from UWOPA

Mary Lamunu, the coordinator of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association spoke about the importance of adding a gender lens to the Human Rights Defenders Bill 2020.

 

Key Messages from Women Human Rights Defenders

Some of the key messages shared by Women Human Rights Defenders as they commemorated the International Women Human Rights Day

 

Remarks from Eve Acan, Programs Manager AWAC Uganda


 

Championing A Gender Responsive Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill 2020

On August 13th 2020, Defenders Protection Initiative held a Consultative meeting at Skyz Hotel on the proposed Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill. The mover of the bill Hon. Komakech Lyandro in his opening remarks emphasized the the law will consolidate the struggle Women Human Rights Defenders go through and create an enabling environment for women to flourish.


Brenda Kugonza, the Executive Director of the Women Human Rights Defenders Network Uganda, presented a position paper by Women Human Rights Defenders on the need and relevance of a gender perspective in the Human Rights Defenders Protection bill. “Women’s unique issues and concerns while protecting rights of others should be put into full consideration as the bill is drafted.”

Brenda Kugonza delivers a position paper on the Human Rights Defenders protection Bill 2020
Brenda Kugonza delivers a position paper on the Human Rights Defenders protection Bill 2020

Rights of all individuals should be respected and reflected in the bill to ensure equal leveled ground while carrying out work. Women Human Rights Defenders across all regions from the country gave accounts of the different violations and threats they face while working.

John Tamale Mirundi, a Senior legislative council and drafter of the bill committed to ensuring all gender aspects are catered for in the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill 2020.


 

Ensuring a Gender Responsive Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill

On July 30th 2020, Brenda Kugonza the Executive Director of Women Human Rights Defenders Network Uganda, together with the Assistant Protection and Rapid Response Manager, Jane Sssenyange met with Hon Lucy Akello, Hon Jovah Kamatek and Mary Harriet Lamunu, program coordinator from Uganda Women Parliament Association to discuss the proposed Human Rights Defenders protection bill and how it can be gender responsive.

Discussing a Gender Responsive Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill

It is important to WHRDN-U that Women Human Rights Defenders are well represented in this bill, and this was central to the discussions held. Hon Lucy Akello, who sits on the Human Rights Parliamentary committee welcomed the idea of ensuring women’s voices and rights are well respected in drafting the bill.

Mary Lamunu, welcomed the timely intervention and discussion and emphasized the need for WHRDs issues to be well laid out in the bill. The discussion held resulted in the members agreeing to champion this cause going forward in Parliament.