The NCHRD-U Launches a Digital System to Support HRDs at Risk to Report Cases of Violation and Abuse

The NCHRD-U Launches a Digital System to Support HRDs at Risk to Report Cases of Violation and
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The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Uganda (NCHRD-U) has launched a new digital system that will support Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in reporting cases of abuse and violation by both state and non-state actors. The launch event was held on Thursday 09th May 2024 at Skyz Hotel Naguru, Kampala, and was attended by several HRDs, partners, and the media fraternity.

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The system has been identified as the “Online Human Rights Defenders Referral Network and Case Management System” with the primary goal of creating a structured format that facilitates the timely referral of HRDs to appropriate resources and support services in times of need.

NCHRD-U Executive Director Mr. Robert Kirenga signing on the dummy screening

The NCHRD-U executive director, Mr. Robert Kirenga, underscored the importance of the platform, noting that it would enhance the safety, security, and well-being of rights activists by providing them with access to a broad range of support mechanisms.

“Rights activists in this country face quite several threats and risks, and it is imperative that, as a coalition, we be alive to these threats and how we handle and process them to enable our rights defenders to stay afloat. Previous tools that the Coalition has deployed in addressing such challenges include the development of referral tools and directories, MoUs, and referral meetings,” he said.

He added, “In a bid to improve and strengthen the human rights defender’s referral network system as an avenue for a collective response to threats against human rights defenders at risk and borrowing from the Japanese concept of KAIZAN (that means keeping improving on what and how you do things), we intentionally recognized the importance of reviewing and digitalizing our case management and referral network system.”

The system will follow the original case management procedures of case intake, case registration (validation) and screening, assessment of needs, development of a case plan, implementation of an action plan, referral to special services, monitoring and review, and case closure when handling cases.

Our Chief guest Mr. Hassan Shire (ED Defend Defenders) delivering his speech during the launch

The invited Keynote Speaker Mr. Hassan Shire, who is the executive director of Defend Defenders and also doubles as the chair of the African Defenders Network, while speaking, reiterated the importance of embarking on a technological approach to solve challenges faced by rights activists.

“By harnessing technology, we can enhance our communication and collaboration capabilities and streamline the process of capturing and reporting while also protecting data, as the do no harm principle and confidentiality must be applied. This online case management system is designed to assist in managing human rights cases. It offers an efficient approach to reporting, tracking, and managing cases, providing timely and practical assistance to those in need. I congratulate everyone who made this launch possible, particularly the coalition secretariat. Their hard work and dedication have brought this system to fruition. It is a significant step forward in protecting human rights defenders, and I am optimistic about its positive impact,” he said.

The launch of the platform comes at a time when human HRDs are grappling with several challenges, among them threats from authorities and being beaten by security agencies.

The NCHRD-U reaffirms its commitment to standing in solidarity with HRDs and advancing the cause of human rights in Uganda.

By harnessing the power of technology and collective action, the Online HRD Referral Network and Case Management System herald a new era of support and resilience for defenders nationwide.