Representatives of the National Human Rights commissions from the five EAC states, meeting in Kigali, have resolved to form a regional body that will oversee human rights issues within the region.
The meeting agreed that the country holding the regional rotating presidency will be the chair of the rights body as well as host of the secretariat.
The current regional chair (Rwanda) will hold this position in the interim until rules and structures are installed and agreed upon by all member states.
The participants urged the bloc’s secretariat to assist Burundi establish an independent National Human Rights Commission in conformity with the Paris Principles, since the present body is a government institution that has no independence.
Speaking at the closure of the two day conference, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of EAC integration, Robert Ssali, hailed the achievements realized in the conference and emphasized the important role played by national human rights groups in furthering regional integration.
During the conference, participants revealed that despite the challenges of ignorance, poverty, corruption and ethnic clashes in the region that undermine the basic principles of human rights, these institutions remain essential in investigating and providing remedies to victims of human rights violations.