Civil society’s launches a project to ensure the protection and promotion of Civic Space in Uganda
By Male Deogratius Civil society organizations have on Thursday launched a project to ensure the protection and promotion of Civic Space in Uganda
The civil society organization which include Youth Line Forum, The Alternative UG, Twerwaneho Listener’s Club and the Global focus Claim Your Space, believe that Civil Society is the oxygen of democracy hence all actors in the Civic Space should work together to counter restrictive anti-NGO measures.
The project aims at working together to push back against the shrinking civic space through lobbying, protests, strategic litigation and cross-sectorial coalitions and ensure the protection and promotion of Civic Space in Uganda.
“As Civil Society Actors, we commit ourselves to dialoguing with Government, Our regulators; NGO Bureau, Financial Intelligence Authority, Ministry of Finance, Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Key Development Partners and Civil Society Organizations on how best we can protect and promote civic space, for example through pushing for opening up of Facebook that is a medium of expression and engagement for many citizens especially the Youth”. He continues to call upon for citizen Lead campaigns to push government to open up Facebook as well as seek legal bodies’ to support in taking Government to court for breach of its constitutional obligation to ensure the wellbeing of its people by closing a digital platform that enables majority of the youth to advertise their businesses and earn an income.” Said Musana Robert the Programs Coordinator of Youth Line Forum
The Executive Director Of The Alternative Uganda, Mr Tumuhimbise Norman challenged the Government to re-examine its fiscal policy such as the 12% tax levied on the internet and the high internet costs which translate into a violation of people’s rights to internet access which is a prerequisite to digital assembly, association and communication most especially in this COVID19 era. Ugandans are encouraged to challenge in courts of law the 1935 Public Health Act that is being used for COVID19 response because it is archaic, outdated and out touch with the existential realities of a 21st century nation
They also assert that corona virus is not just a public health issue but a civic concern. Saying that the imposition of curfews, closure of parliaments, lockdowns, suppression of freedoms such as assembly and physical association are all a test of democracy, human rights and civil liberties. Adding that for Uganda, civic space is being threatened by not only the pandemic but also state fear of civic actors in governance and human rights sector.
The Team Leader of Twerwaneho Listener's Club urged interested Ugandans to record and prosecute in courts of law all perpetrators of human rights violation. And parliament to legislate in the interests of the people. Laws like the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Computer Misuse Act which have clauses that support state surveillance and privacy breaches should be amended to ensure the privacy and data of Ugandans is protected.
The civil society now want a Number of withdrawn restrictions and bans lifted by the government with the 12months period of the project that will have an effect on the protection of fundamental human rights in Uganda must be fostered.
As Civil society Actors, we remain committed to the fair provisions of the Laws of Uganda and working with government to realize the objectives the National Development Plan (iii) and the Vision 2040. We remain committed to the Citizens of Uganda in ensuring that they have a well projected voice in demanding accountability where required. Above all, we remain committed to the civic rights of each and every Uganda