By Ali Balunywa
The Human Rights Network (Hurinet) is a national network bringing together 32 different organizations dealing with different human rights issues. The network brings in different national coalitions, each of which can have more than 200 members.
Mr. Muhammad Ndifuna is the national coordinator and I got to interview him to get some background information on the upcoming symposium, International Criminal Court Review conference and other events.
Mr Muhammad Ndifuna at work
Muhammad explained to me the workings of Hurinet. He assured me that there are many coalitions that are supported by Hurinet by way of carrying on wide ranging campaigns. Among many others he quoted the campaign for freedom of information (COFI), Police Accountability, Economic-Socio and cultural rights (to do so, Hurinet partners with organizations like UN Human Rights Commission, World Health organization, Makerere University and Human Rights and Peace Centre).
Programmes are executed by way of organizations initiating campaigns to share information and Hurinet comes up with the resources and other technical structures in support.
The link between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Hurinet came into being through a coalition partner; Uganda Coalition for the International Criminal Court (UCICC) whose purpose is providing a platform for local civil society to discuss issues of the ICC and domestication of the Rome Statute in Uganda.
Hurinet is a member of the steering committee of the Global Civil Society Coalition that campaigns for an independent, effective and efficient International criminal Court headquartered in The Hague and New York.
The ICC was set up in Rome in 2002. It was agreed to review it after 7 years. Uganda applied and was granted the right to hold the review conference. It takes place between 31 May and 11 June 2010.
Hurinet together with the Danish Embassy in Uganda, the International commission for Jurists, No Peace Without Justice (OSIS) and the Uganda Coalition on the ICC organized an International Symposium on the stock taking process. It took place in Kampala on 27 and 28 May 2010 at Hotel Africana.
The International Symposium had 2 tracks; the first was the proposal for amendment track and second states to take a review of the Rome Statute since inception to reflect on:
1. The impact of the Rome Statute on victims
2. State cooperation with the ICC
3. Complimentarity and with local jurisdiction intervening where state is unable or unwilling.
4. Peace and justice
The second event after the symposium was held on Sunday 30 May 2010 at Namboole near Kampala. It involved the Uganda war victims, H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN general secretary, HE President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, the president of the Assembly, NGOs and other individuals participating in a football match whose objective was to highlight the significance of justice and appreciate the need for fair play as well as creating awareness.
The third event to be organized is the People’s Space to take place at the Commonwealth resort Hotel Munyonyo from 31 May to 11 June 2010. A series of activities will be held and they will include: participation of the 32 organizations, raising issues on the question of the day, civil society to use the space to highlight critical issues, opportunity for civil society to interact with the States and a market place for highlighting the importance of the ICC.
The last event will take form of the state delegates visiting Teso sub region in Uganda to interact with the affected communities and stakeholders in order to optimize engagement to provide an opportunity for Uganda to showcase other states.
These side events by civil society are supposed to influence the main event; The Review Conference being organized by the ICC and hosted by Uganda.