Slyvia Muwebwa Ntambi, the chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission has said they have made great strides in their mandate of giving effect to the State’s constitutional mandate to eliminate discrimination and inequalities in all spheres of life in their 10 years of existence.
“We have been able to improve access to justice by the vulnerable and marginalized groups through EOC tribunal hearings and Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms. To date, the Commission has excelled in enhancing access to social justice through quasi – judicial mechanisms such as referral to relevant agencies,”Muwebwa said on Tuesday in Kampala.
She explained that during this period, they have received, assessed, registered and investigated over 2000 complaints from all over the country arising from marginalization and discrimination in order to enhance access to social justice and that a number of these have been solved.
The Equal Opportunities Commission chairperson cited a matter in which the Banyanbidi minority ethnic group lodged a complaint against government for having been denied rights to own land, adding that in August 2019, a tribunal was held in their favour and ordered government to resettle them.
“There was a complaint by the Albinism Umbrella against Homisdallen primary school Gayaza campus about a child with albinism who dropped out of school having been denied admission into the boarding section during preparations for final exams. The tribunal facilitated mediation and issues were resolved and damages of shs23 million was paid to the complainants,”Muwebwa said.
“Our focus on social justice is to advance fair and just relations between individuals, society and government services. The EOC strives to promote justice in terms of the distribution of opportunities, wealth and privileges within society by particularly ensuring that services offered by government and Non-Government sectors are non-discriminatory.”
According to Muwebwa, the Equal Opportunities Commission has improved service delivery to the marginalized and vulnerable groups around the country.
She however noted that moving forward; they are to roll out more concrete interventions to the civil society and private sector.
“There is need for faster coverage of the country and intensify the visibility of EOC, especially amongst the right holders to increase their demand for services and equal opportunities. Intensification of the gender and equity responsive service delivery is also needed,” Muwebwa said.
The Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Frank Tumwebaze pledged government support to the Equal Opportunities Commission.
“The government of Uganda remains committed to working with all stakeholders at international, regional and national levels in the spirit of promoting equal opportunities for all,” he said.