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To overcome human rights abuses: promote economic growth

Monday, 4th November 2019
President Yoweri Museveni has called on Africa to promote economic growth as a way to ending human rights abuses on the Continent. The President argued that there are fundamental human rights such as the right of access to food, shelter, clean water, clothing, education and health. These rights, he said, could not be addressed legally but rather by developing the economy to enable the state to support her citizens.

The President made these remarks while addressing the Fourth Judicial Dialogue organized by the African Court on Human and People's Rights. The Dialogue was attended by top legal brains from 43 African countries. Based in Arusha, Tanzania; the Court complements the work of the African Union Commission on Human and People's Rights. The Protocol to establish the Court entered into force in January, 2004; and its first batch of judges were sworn in at the beginning of July 2006.

While acknowledging the role of legislation in addressing the matter of human rights, Museveni pointed out that some human rights abuses such as floods, drought, diseases, famine and earthquakes, were outside the domain of legislators. What needed to be done to address them was to provide development solutions which tackle the root causes of such abuses.

In view of this, the President urged those devoted to safeguarding human rights, to remind themselves of the strategies that can help the economies of Africa become vibrant. It is through such vibrant economies that African populations can transform from peasant to middle class societies. This transformation will enable such people to overcome most human rights abuses: posed by both man and nature. He pointed to the economic and political integration of the African continent, as one important intervention which could accelerate the growth of African economies.

Turning to the matter of the marginalization of African values in human rights, Museveni argued that some African cultures were outlawed in the framing of human rights laws. But in daily life, he said, African people have ignored human rights laws imposed on them and have continued to practise their cultures because they see no harm in them. Decrying the tendency to put a negative paint on all African cultural practices, Museveni said those  who designed the laws never did enough consultation to put people's cultures and norms into consideration: hence the divergence.

Justice Sylvain Ore of the Arusha-based African Court on Human and People's Rights, commended the President and his Government for championing the safeguarding of human rights on the Continent. This commitment he said, was not just shown by Uganda's signing of human rights protocols; but in the country's commitment to supporting the largest number of refugees in Africa.