All-inclusive approach necessary for a strong EAC- EALA speaker
KAMPALA, Uganda, February 9, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The EAC stands to gain immensely through an enhanced people-centred approach and driven integration. Consequently, there is need to empower the civil society to fully participate in the integration process right from the policy setting stage to its implementation, the Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi has said.
The Speaker made the remarks this afternoon in Arusha when he met with representatives of the East Africa Law Society (EALS) at the Speaker’s Chambers. The delegation led by the premier bar association’s Chief Executive Officer, Tito Byenkya consisted of Programme Officers, Ms. Brenda Dosio and Messrs Humphrey Mtuy and Daniel Birungi. EALA’s Senior Public Relations Officer, Bobi Odiko was also in attendance.
The officials said that EALS had intensified its efforts towards strengthening the regional integration process by enhancing advocacy around EAC while holding Partner States to account on matters of good governance, rule of law and human rights in accordance with the EAC Treaty.
‘What we want is an unfettered access to the EAC and its organs. We are committed to ensuring the integration process remains on track and we shall seek the intervention of all stakeholders including the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) as an arbiter in areas we feel should be determined by the regional court’, the EALS boss stated.
EALS has in the recent past referenced a number of applications before the EACJ. At the moment, EALS has 3 pending cases at the EACJ. They include Reference No. 1 of 2011 of The East Africa Law Society Vs The Secretary General of the East African Community challenging certain provisions in the Common Market Protocol that according to EALS, purport to oust the jurisdiction of the EACJ.
The second case pits The East Africa Law Society Vs The Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda and the Secretary General of the East African Community and concerns what the Society calls human rights violations in Uganda during the ‘Walk to Work’ processions. The third case relates to the rendition of Kenyan citizens to Uganda with a view to defining the legal environment for combating transboundary crimes.
EALS congratulated the EALA Speaker for guiding the Assembly over the last five years noting that the Assembly had made immense contribution in its quest to strengthen the EAC, ‘We laud the achievements of the Assembly and pledge to continue working closely with it for a better East Africa”, Mr.Byenkya remarked.
On the pending Bills before the House, Rt. Hon Abdi informed the EALS delegation that the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Bill 2010, originally initiated by civil society organisations was recently introduced at the just concluded Sitting in Kampala, Uganda.
‘Our Member, Hon Lydia Wanyoto was granted leave to introduce the Private Member’s Bill on HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Bill, 2010 and we look forward to having the Second Reading in April 2012, should the relevant Committee complete its process in time’, the Speaker remarked.
The HIV and AIDS Prevention Bill 2010 aims to promote rights based approach to dealing with matters relating to HIV and AIDS, promote public awareness about the modes and causes of transmission and promote responsibility and access to treatment. The Bill which was put together under the aegis of a number of organisations (including EALS) comes in at an important time for the EAC which is implementing the Common Market Protocol characterized by free movement of people among other ‘freedoms.’
EALS is the premier regional bar association with a membership spanning over seven thousand members in the EAC region. The organization headquartered in Arusha, enjoys an observer status at the EAC.
East African Community (EAC)
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