Monday, October 11, 2010

Women's Agenda, Pillar No.11: The Regional & International Context

Background to the Thematic Pillar: Uganda in the Regional and International Contexts

Uganda subscribes to many regional, sub-regional and international instruments which call for the strengthening of good governance and the enjoyment of women’s rights. The principle of promoting gender equity, equality and justice is enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution, the Constitutive Act of the African Union; the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights; the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1325 (2000); various Ugandan laws and other regional and international instruments. By being a party to these instruments, Uganda underlines her commitment to pay dues, ensure domestication and implementation of these instruments and provide the necessary resources. This also includes the full participation of Ugandan women in regional and international structures, including appointment to represent and participate as equal partners in promoting good governance as well as in the nation’s social, political, cultural and economic development.

Government should put special emphasis on the development of its human resources in order for it to be able to compete favourably and benefit from the gains of regionalization and internationalization. Women should be positioned strategically to participate in decision-making and other opportunities presented at the EAC, AU, APRM/NEPAD Secretariat, UN agencies and the UN.

11.2 Key Issues within the Thematic Pillar: Uganda in the Regional and International Contexts

Regional and International Principles, Codes and Standards

While many international codes and standards have been signed and ratified in the past, many more with a bearing on the protection and promotion of women’s human rights are yet to be signed or ratified. These include: the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (2002); African Union Non-Aggression and Common Defence Pact (2005); the Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union (2003); and the African Union Convention for the Elimination of Mercenaries in Africa (1977).

On the other hand, the international conventions, codes and standards that have been signed, ratified, domesticated and implemented, have not been systematically disseminated and popularised among state and non-state stakeholders. Furthermore although there are seven major international codes and standards, which have been identified for domestication, government has made limited progress in their domestication.

Uganda is in arrears with many of the international and regional bodies to which it belongs and this limits its capacity to effectively engage, sometimes even leading to the loss of rights to vote. Key among these are the APRM, the African Union, East African Community, NEPAD . Failure to remit subscriptions on time not only questions the country’s commitment to international treaties, but also its ability and that of its citizens to effectively engage in such spaces.

Regional Economic Blocs

Uganda belongs to a number of regional economic blocks, the EA Customs Union being the most recent. The Government must safeguard its citizens especially women, from the negative effects of the expanded markets, free trade zones and address itself to concerns about citizenship so as to ensure that all Ugandans, fully benefit from these regional economic blocks.

The Change we want to See

1. Constitution of an Inter-Ministerial Committee and the expeditious implementation and initiation of a process of integrating international conventions, standards and codes into policy and legislation

2. 50:50 gender parity in appointments and postings to strategic regional and international bodies

3. Adherence to periodic reporting as specified in the regional and international treaties and in such reports, capture and address women and gender specific concerns

4. Domestication of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) and allocation of sufficient resources for its implementation

5. Timely provision of information on available opportunities to women and link women’s production areas to markets in the region

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