BY MOSES SSERWANGA
The Commonwealth law ministers meeting takes place on Monday next to look at ways of strengethening laws that will promote democracy among the commonwealth countries including Uganda. Uganda has just held it's national general elections where president Yoweri Museveni was elected for a forth term in office.
The meeting, which will be hosted by Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland, provides the opportunity for the First Law Officers of the Commonwealth of Nations to discuss law and justice issues of common concern, including counter-terrorism, crime prevention, human rights, access to justice and intellectual property as well as ‘Women as agents of change’.
A Ugandan, Ms. Elizabeth Bakibinga-Gaswaga, Vice President of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC), will lead the CALC’s delegation to the 2011 Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting to be held in Sydney at the InterContinental Hotel from Monday 11 to Thursday 14 July 2011.
The international meeting under the theme: ‘Fostering a Just and Secure Society’ involves Commonwealth Law Ministers discussing and providing the strategic vision and direction on law and justice issues of common concern. In doing so, they will identify and drive the capacity building and technical assistance needs required by member states to promote the rule of law across the Commonwealth, in order to further enhance and strengthen democracy, good governance and development.
Representatives from more than 50 Commonwealth countries are expected to attend.
The delegates include Ministers and Senior Officials from Commonwealth member states, including Uganda’s Attorney General, Mr Peter Nyombi Mrs Robina Rwakoojo, Ag. Director Civil Litigation, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, the UK Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Mr. Kenneth Clarke, the Indian Minister for Law & Justice, Mr. M. Veerappa Moily and New Zealand’s Minister of Justice, Simon Power. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma will also attend CLMM and officially open the meeting. According to Mr. Sharma, “The Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting is unique in the legal calendar. It is the only high-level event on the international stage that facilitates information sharing, best practice and collaboration among law ministers and attorneys-general from both developing and developed countries from every continent in the world who share a common legal tradition.”
The Meeting will be followed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth in October 2011.
CALC has observer status with the Commonwealth and, at this meeting, the CALC delegation will endeavour to draw the attention of participants to activities and opportunities for interaction that enhance the visibility of legislative counsel and highlight the role of legislative counsel in transforming policy and programmes into enforceable legislation for good governance and development. This should specifically benefit the 250 legislative counsel in Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, the Gambia, Uganda and Zambia. The meeting also serves as a pre-cursor to the 2nd CALC Africa regional conference scheduled to be held in 2012.
Official release from the Commonwealth Secretariat, also available at http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/237933/040711clmm.htm
Commonwealth law ministers to hold triennial meeting in Australia
4 July 2011
Meeting provides a periodic opportunity, every three years, for ministers and senior officials to come together to stock take and look ahead
Law ministers and attorneys-general from the 54-member Commonwealth will hold their triennial meeting in Sydney, Australia, 11-14 July 2011, to discuss important legal issues affecting Commonwealth citizens.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba will join host Australia's Attorney-General Robert McClelland for the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting (CLMM 2011) under the theme 'Fostering a Just and Secure Commonwealth'.
“CLMM 2011 will be an excellent opportunity for law ministers from across the Commonwealth to work together to advance a broad range of initiatives aimed at achieving this year’s theme of fostering a just and secure Commonwealth,” Mr McClelland said.
“There will be a special thematic session on cyber crime and further discussion on the development of a Commonwealth plan of action to combat human trafficking. Concrete solutions in these areas really matter to Commonwealth citizens in order to foster a just and secure Commonwealth for all,” stated Mr Sharma.
“The Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting is unique in the legal calendar. It is the only high-level event on the international stage that facilitates information sharing, best practice and collaboration among law ministers and attorneys-general from both developing and developed countries from every continent in the world who share a common legal tradition.”
Akbar Khan, Director of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, offered more details on the conference.
“We are talking about those global threats for which collectively we need to find solutions. Today many of the legal threats don’t have borders. We’re talking about human trafficking, we’re talking about cyber crime, and we’re talking about forced marriages,” Mr Khan said.
“These issues need to be dealt with on a collective basis and ministers have that experience in providing the protection and security and respect for human rights that need to come to bear to decide these issues.”
A special feature of CLMM 2011 will be its focus also on youth, marked with an event for young lawyers from the Pacific region to promote youth mainstreaming within the Commonwealth and to discuss the challenges they face in the legal profession.
Another special event will focus on access to justice for women, under the Commonwealth’s theme for 2011, 'Women as Agents of Change'.
The women’s event will hear about the challenges that women in the Commonwealth face in accessing their rights through judicial mechanisms and legal systems.
The CLMM is the summit meeting of First Law Officers of the Commonwealth and is held every three years. This is the first time Australia has hosted the meeting, which is a precursor to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Western Australia, in October 2011.
To access further information regarding CLMM, go to http://www.clmm2011.org/
For video sound bites of Mr Khan, visit the Commonwealth Secretariat website homepage http://www.thecommonwealth.org/
For media enquiries: Manoah Esipisu, Conference Spokesperson, +44 789 446 2021 and firstname.lastname@example.org