By Ivan Naijuka
Mukono - Monday August 21st, 2017 - Uganda Christian University (UCU) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have launched the pioneer short courses on human rights targeting university students. The courses are being taught under UCU’s John Sentamu Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian law. The main of aim of this multi-disciplinary training is to equip students with relevant knowledge on international, regional and national protection frameworks and mechanisms for the protection of human rights as well as the UN Human Rights system. The course will provide participants the opportunity to have practical lessons from a breed of seasoned human rights consultants and professionals.
Speaking during the launch at UCU’s Nkoyoyo Hall on Monday morning, Javier Sanjuan, OHCHR Human Rights Officer who represented the UN Human Rights Country Representative Dr. Uchenna Emelonye hailed the initiative saying it will help students understand the law and their entitlements regardless of the discipline they are studying at the university.
“Uganda Christian University is the only university in Uganda that opened her doors for us to facilitate this training”, Dr. Uchenna said thanking UCU.
Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, the UCU Vice Chancellor welcomed the partnership between UCU and UN saying that the training will entrench the culture of understanding and respect for human rights and facilitate meaningful discourses on human rights. He asked the presenters and discussants to infuse Christian perspectives in the training saying that the concept of human rights was birthed in Christianity.
He challenged students to ask questions and be open to contrasting views, “Let your perspective be challenged and also challenge theirs that’s when you will learn,” Dr. Senyonyi said.
The first class has an estimated 150 students drawn from the University’s academic programs- law, business, nursing, education, mass communication and social sciences. The training will end on September 1st, 2017.
The two weeks training is funded by United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It has attracted students from diverse disciplines.
About the John Sentamu Institute
According to Dr. Anthony Kakooza, the Dean UCU Faculty of Law, The John Sentamu Institute of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law was established in 2015. It was named after the Bishop of Yoke (United Kingdom) Arch Bishop John Sentamu, “because he is very vocal and passionate about Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law - he is also not shy about demonstrating this publicly as has been seen with his criticism of oppressive leaders globally. More importantly, he is also a Ugandan lawyer and former Magistrate who fled to the U.K during the Idi Amin era to avoid persecution by Amin.”
“The Faculty of Law at UCU therefore felt that since UCU is founded by the Church of Uganda and Archbishop Sentamu is also an Anglican topmost Bishop with a zeal for Human Rights, then it would be ideal to name the Institute after him. We contacted him and he graciously accepted to have his name used and to act as Patron of the Institute.”