A top African human rights defender has hailed Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Chairperson Mariam Wangadya for her unwavering dedication to defending rights of the underprivileged.
The compliment was sounded by Mr. Robert Ayeda Kotchani, the Country representative of the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Kotchani was at the UHRC headquarters at Twed Plaza last Thursday to say his goodbyes to Wangadya following his promotion and transfer which will see him exit his duty station in Uganda.
According to official reports gathered by our Inspectors, Kotchani who has been working closely with the UHRC was elevated to in-charge of the West African region and will subsequently be based in Senegal.
While bidding farewell to Wangadya, Kotchani revealed that he will remember his time in Uganda with great fondness, hailing Ugandans for being such good people.
Talking human rights, he thanked Ms. Wangadya for being a great listener and sociable person, which has enabled her to work with human rights defenders from all walks of life.
He revealed that because of Wangadya, the UN human rights office has found it very easy to work with UHRC, a partnership he said will continue even as he moves to West Africa.
Robert Ayeda Kotchani has been working with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the past twelve years. In 1999, he started his international career as Legal Officer with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, The Gambia, where he worked for eight years. From 2006 to 2009, he worked for OHCHR in Uganda, where he opened the Karamoja regional office in Moroto (Northern Uganda).
He has subsequently worked in several country and regional offices of OHCHR, as Deputy Representative in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Yaounde, Cameroon, as well as in Bujumbura, Burundi, where in 2014/15, he led as Acting Representative of the High Commissioner the transition from the United Nations for Burundi (BNUB) to the OHCHR country office in Burundi. Mr. Kotchani’s most recent position was Human Rights Officer with the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in Libreville, Gabon.
Mr. Kotchani holds an LLM in International Law and an LLB in English, both obtained from the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin.
UHRC commissioner hails Wangadya
Meanwhile, a top Ugandan human rights commissioner has hailed UHRC boss Mariam Wangadya for turning the human rights agency into a model entity in the country.
Crispin Kaheru paid tribute to his boss in an exclusive interview with The Inspector last week. Kaheru made the kind remarks about Wangadya while reacting to a story which was published by the Inspector in honour of Wangadya’s first year in office.
In the groveling tribute, Kaheru wrote: “Ms. Mariam Wangadya has put the UHRC on the path of a highly regarded convener institution, bringing together local and international stakeholders to promote and protect universal human rights. She is for instance the go to interlocutor for bodies such as the African Union, the United Nations etc. when it comes to human rights matters. She has ably championed outreach – taking the Commission closer to the people of Uganda. She maintains a strong presence in bilateral and multilateral partnerships within Africa and beyond. Over the past one year, Ms. Wangadya has built a solid network of local authorities, actors and international community partners who continue to pursue human rights from strategic global and local perspectives.”
He added, “Administratively, her excellent managerial prowess has nurtured a vibrant institution that is fully functional in all the regions of the country.”