Bill on Human Rights passed by EALA
mercredi 16 mai 2012 à 09 : 13 : 44
New law to see establishment of an EAC Human Rights Commission
In its last session, the East African Legislative Assembly, debated and passed, last week, the EAC Human Rights Bill 2012 paving the way for a new law (Act of the Community) should the EAC Heads of State assent to the same.
- Hon Dan Ogalo makes his contribution on the floor of the House, during EALA session
The Bill, whose prime mover is Hon Frederic Ngenzebuhoro, seeks to give effect to the provisions of the Treaty for EAC on human and peoples’ rights. The Bill consolidates the various principles on human and people’s rights found in the Charter on Human rights and various conventions and agreements including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right as well as the UN Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. The Bill further provides an institutional framework for research in the area of human rights and will lead to harmonization of applicable principles and rules across board.
During debate, Hon Gervase Akhaabi termed the Bill positive stating that it took into consideration the rights of all including that of the minority and marginalized groups. On his part, Hon Wilbert Kaahwa moved an amendment that the new law broadens the definition of the outlawed acts and forms of torture to include physical and psychological torture, the latter of which he said, went beyond the confines of mental torture aspects.
Hon Dora Byamukama noted that during the public hearings held in the Partner States, stakeholders had strongly supported the enactment of a Community law that recognizes, promotes and protects human rights.
“The enforcement of fundamental rights and freedoms is provided for in the constitutions and laws of Partner States and it is their (Partner States) duty to enforce the rights”, she said, adding that, with the entry of the Common Market Protocol, enjoyment of rights under the new Bill remained of absolute importance.
The debate was preceded by the tabling of a report of the Committee of on Legal Rules and Privileges on the recent public hearings and sittings in the Partner States.
The Bill further enables the formation of an East African Community Human Rights Commission. The Commission whose mandate is to ensure the protection of human and peoples’ rights in the economic bloc shall consist of a membership of five persons (one per Partner State) appointed by the Summit of the EAC Heads of State upon recommendation of the Council of Ministers.
The Members are to be elected to serve a three year period renewable once. Its mandate includes inter alia co-operating with other regional and international institutions concerned with the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights and the formulation of principles aimed at solving related legal problems.