COMMEMORATION OF WORLD FOOD DAY – URBAN TV
The Honorable Minister, we write from the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) to first of all, thank you and the Government of Uganda for all the tireless efforts undertaken to manage the COVID 19 pandemic. Uganda is undoubtedly one of the countries that took swift measures to protect its citizens as soon as news about the pandemic broke out. One of the most efficient measures was closing schools, protecting our children from contracting the deadly virus and ordering for a total lockdown.
Proper nutrition and hydration are vital. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. So you should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water. Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your risk of overweight, obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
“…….Thanks to CEFROHT and AVAAZ foundation; I do not have to worry about food for this month, and this will certainly help me rebound back to independently feed my family…….” Monica-Mukono district
Demand for food reserves, restriction of marketing of unhealthy foods and food safety in uganda
With support from AVAAZ FOUNDATION, CEFROHT has offered community food emergence support to almost 5000 families who have gravely been disrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The government has a constitutional obligation to establish national food reserves under Objective XXII (b) of the 1995 constitution. This duty helps to guarantee food security, mitigates hunger, prevents malnutrition and ensures that everyone enjoys the right to livelihood. COVID 19 pandemic has worsened malnutrition and related deaths in Uganda. Food reserves would have therefore been a critical tool in realising food security especially in times of unforeseen economic hardships or natural calamities like the COVID 19 pandemic.
Proper nutrition is undoubtedly one of the key factors for early childhood development. It is however unfortunate that in most developing countries, nutrition is very poor and malnutrition among children and mothers is a major cause of infant mortality, stunted growth and underweight.
The UNICEF Uganda nutrition statistics of 2018 show that 3.6% of the children in Uganda are suffering from moderate acute nutrition and 1.3% have severe acute nutrition. The Ministry of Health report indicates that the infant mortality rate in Uganda as of 2018 was 33 deaths per 1000 live births and one of the key underlying causes was malnutrition. Mothers and pregnant women need to be encouraged to pay keen attention of their nutritional welfare and emotional wellbeing during pregnancy and after the birth of their children. This is a major requirement as scientific research has highlighted that the first 1000 days as the most crucial for a child’s growth and optimal development.
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
The CEFROHT and SEATINI are Non-Government Organizations bringing this public interest cause on behalf of female employees in commercial investment schemes.
The Government of Uganda is currently implementing a public-private partnership with vegetable oil development projects in partnership with BIDCO and WILMAR as Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) among other commercial investment schemes in Uganda in several sectors to which Uganda has signed a number of bilateral investment treaties.
The Investment Code Act, 2019, which is the principal law regulating investment schemes does not provide for a requirement to conduct Human Rights Impact assessments by investors prior to and during the implementation of investment projects. The Occupation Health and Safety Act put an obligation on the employer to provide protective gear but this has not been implementing in some workplaces. Uganda has signed a number of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), 6 of which. The treaties focus on protecting the rights of investors at the expense of citizens. As such, investors have not been held accountable for the acts of violating the rights of workers.
Our interactions with the present and former workers in investment schemes, revealed that workers are not given adequate food, many times go all day doing hard labor but without a meal, those that are given some food like posho and beans reported that this food is rotten most times and unsafe for human consumption, women were found to be adversely affected by the lack of appropriate personal protective gears which exposes them to chemicals that burn and irritate their skin and nose, very low wages as low as 4,400 Uganda shillings per week; very heavy workload involving carrying up to 1,200 kilograms of load a day; denial of paid maternity and annual leave.
Did you know that you have a constitutional right to demand and defend your social economic rights?
Jorina House Gayaza
(+256) 393 225468