The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Uganda Law Society (ULS), organized, from 18-19 August 2011, a sensitization visit to Uganda culminating in a one-day sensitization seminar for human rights organizations in Uganda, on 19 August 2011, in Kampala, Uganda. The main objective of the sensitization mission was to raise awareness about the Court, among human rights actors in Uganda, and in the process, request the government of the Republic of Uganda to consider the possibility of depositing the declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to access the Court.
The delegation of the Court was composed of Honorable Justice Gerard Niyungeko, President of the Court, and Honorable Justice Augustino S. L. Ramadhani, Judge of the Court; assisted by three staff members of the Registry.
The visit commenced with the payment of courtesy calls on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Speaker of Parliament; the Judiciary, the Uganda Human Rights Commission; and the Attorney General.
At each courtesy call, the President gave a briefing on the purpose of the visit; the background of the Court, and made or reiterated three requests: that Uganda consider the possibility of making the declaration allowing individuals and NGO’s to access the Court; that the government of Uganda considers utilizing the Court’s advisory jurisdiction; and that Uganda continues to support the Court.
The Court delegation was well received, and all the various officials visited assured the Court of their support and the support of Uganda. They further undertook to consider the possibility of making the declaration or seeking advisory opinion of the Court, or to initiate or encourage discussion and re-examination of Uganda’s position thereon.
The visit culminated with the sensitization seminar for human rights stakeholders which was held at the Protea Hotel, Kampala on 19 August 2011. The seminar was very well attended by a cross section of human rights and similar organizations in Uganda, including members of the Judiciary, Senior Government Officials, and representatives of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, members of the Uganda Law Society (ULS), non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, religious bodies and media organizations, under the theme: ‘the African Court on Human and People’ Rights – Your New Partner in Human Rights in Africa’.
The seminar was officially opened by H.E. Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi, Vice President of the Republic of Uganda. Other speakers at the opening ceremony included, Hon. Judge Gerard Niyungeko, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Justice Augustino S. L. Ramadhani, Judge of the Court and Mr James Mukasa Sebugenyi, President of the Uganda Law Society.