There is a growing need to have Parliaments across the world share in the responsibility of protecting the rule of law and human rights, alongside institutions such as courts of law and human rights organizations.
According to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, the exclusion of Parliaments’ say on the universal human rights reporting system has come at a great cost to the oversight role, which she says ought to be urgently addressed and thus check on human rights violations worldwide.
“The oversight role of Parliaments can be key in identifying and ending human rights abuses. In Uganda, the visit of the Human Rights Committee of Parliament led to exposure of a secret place of custody and it had to be closed,” said Kadaga.
She made the comments while addressing the 141st Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly being held in Belgrade, Serbia on the theme, ‘Strengthening international law: Parliamentary roles and mechanisms, and the contribution of regional corporation’.
The Assembly is being attended by Speakers and Members of Parliament from 179 countries under the Africa Group, Arab Group, Asia-Pacific Group, Group of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Twelve Plus Group.
The Speaker is accompanied to the IPU Assembly by MPs Hon. Paul Akamba, Hon. Mourine Osoru, Hon. Esther Anyakun, Hon. Rose Kabagyeni, Hon. Abdulatif Ssebaggala and Hon. Roland Mugume.
Alluding to the theme of the Assembly, Kadaga recommended the establishment of regional human rights parliamentary bodies, which she said would facilitate regular intervention and follow up on such issues at an international level.
“I also propose solidarity debates in our Parliaments, where elected representatives can take ownership of fundamental values and ultimately facilitate domestic implementation of, and compliance with human rights standards,” Kadaga added.
The Speaker of the Parliament of Malawi, Rt. Hon. Catherine Gotani, told the Assembly that executive branches of counties across the world ought to involve their Parliaments in all decisions made for the benefit of the electorate they represent.
“It is my considered view that in order to ensure that Parliaments play the appropriate oversight role, the Executive must go further than merely informing Parliamentarians, and allow them to have a meaningful say in the formulation of international instruments,” Gotani said.
Kadaga also held a bilateral meeting with the President of the Algerian National Assembly Rt. Hon. Chenine Slimane where they discussed how to strengthen ties between the two countries.
“The relationship between Algeria and Uganda is strong because Algeria has supported us in educating our children through scholarships and supported the Uganda Police Force, so we want to improve this relationship further,” said Kadaga.
The General Assembly is being chaired by Speaker of the Serbia National Assembly Rt. Hon. Maja Gojković who is the current President of the IPU, and will conclude deliberations on Thursday, 17 October 2019.