Tribunal for marginalised groups opened


The Minister of Gender and Social Development, Ms Mary Karooro Okurut, has launched a tribunal to hear complaints against discrimination and promote equal opportunities for all Ugandans.The Equal Opportunities Commission Tribunal will investigate, summon transgressors, hear complaints, give orders and promote rectification through mediation, arbitration and reconciliation.“Cut the bureaucracy… Your mission is to help these marginalised people. They cannot be marginalised out there,” Ms Karooro said yesterday. The minister said she had approved the tribunal’s rules of procedure which would be gazetted by next week. The rules are supposed to guide all parties.Ms Karooro also urged the commission to attract publicity and sensitise communities about their activities.

romiseThe commission’s chairperson, Ms Rita Matovu, said they would assist complainants free of charge and ensure maximum convenience for clients.The tribunal will hold regional hearings to reduce costs for complainants upcountry.According to the commission’s secretary, Ms Catherine Amal, 60 complaints have already been received. However, she noted that they were still under facilitated. The commission’s budget is mainly funded by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), a consortium of donors, including Austria, Norway and Demark, among others. Ms Sophie Racine, a manager of the DGF’s rights, justice and peace component, said the decision to support the commission was based on its strategic value on governance and promotion of human rights, including promotion of inclusion and dignity of all.

DUTIESLaunched on July 8, 2010, the Equal Opportunities Commission is a creation of an Act of Parliament in fulfillment of Article 32(3) of the Constitution.

Mandate: Addresses and eliminates discrimination and inequalities against an individual or group on ground of sex, age, race, colour, ethnic origin, birth, creed, religion, health, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.

Membership: The commission has a membership of five but one slot is vacant after the appointee reportedly turned down the appointment. Members include Ms Erina Baingana, Zamina Malore and Mr Sirabo Wafula.


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