One year ago, the Center for Reproductive Rights and our partner, the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA – Uganda), submitted a joint letter to the Human Rights Council (the Council), which was about to perform its Universal Periodic Review of Uganda. That letter voiced serious concerns that the government of Uganda, despite being party to several important human rights treaties, was neglecting and often violating many human rights protections, especially those related to reproductive rights.
In December 2011, the Council responded forcefully, calling on the government to fulfill its human rights obligations, including the expansion and enhancement of access to reproductive and sexual health care services.
Recognizing several key reproductive health and rights concerns highlighted in the submission, the Council urged the Ugandan government to:
- decrease maternal mortality rates and fulfill its pledge under the Abuja Declaration to allocate at least 15 percent of its national budget to the health sector,
- integrate human rights in school curricula and increase public awareness of human rights,
- implement laws protecting women from violence, establish a system of prevention and deterrence, and investigate and prosecute perpetrators,
- provide legal and medical support to victims of sexual violence and ensure the existence of effective remedies,
- reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and improve access to quality health services,
- establish a comprehensive strategy to eliminate harmful traditional practices and stereotypes that result in discrimination against women,
- amend discriminatory provisions in the current bill on marriage and divorce, and
- fulfill the State’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The Center and FIDA-Uganda welcome the Council’s recommendations and urge the Ugandan government to prioritize their implementation to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women.