Judicial Training Institute and OHCHR Uganda launch Resource Book on enforcing ESCRs

The Resource Book on Enforcing Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) is designed as a reference tool with cases and materials that would help members of the judiciary understand the nature and content of ESCR and adjudicate related cases.

Kampala 19 July 2019 - The Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda has hailed the partnership between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Uganda and the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) in working together to uphold and promote the rule of law in Uganda, reiterating the determination of government to guarantee Economic, Social and Cultural Rights without discrimination. Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo was speaking at the launch of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights resource book on 18 July 2019 at Serena Resort Hotel, Entebbe. “The Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Resource Book will hold the government accountable for violations and also mobilize collective efforts to develop communities and global frameworks conducive to economic justice, social wellbeing, participation and equality.” He said.

The Resource Book compiles relevant international and regional human rights treaties, general comments, principles and other instruments, as well as comparative domestic and international jurisprudence. In the presence of members of the judiciary, JLOS institutions, academia and civil society organizations, Justice Owiny Dollo described the Resource book as “an important tool because it is grounded in an inclusive vision for realizing human rights and environmental justice.” He added that it will assist “in securing justice for systemic ESCR violations, pursuing effective accountability, regulation, remedies and implementation through participatory approaches.” He further noted that “the book will offer guidance to judicial officers in the course of adjudicating cases which have a bearing to issues of economic, social and cultural rights with the appropriate information and lens.”

OHCHR Uganda Deputy Country Representative, Nicole Bjerler, highlighted the key role of judicial officers in the fight for a just and equitable society. “Through the adjudication of cases, you [judicial officers] seek to establish such conditions that address inequalities and discrimination, remedy injustices and allow people to fulfil their full potential.” She noted the obligation of States to progressively fulfil economic, social and cultural rights to the maximum of available resources as is emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), among other instruments.

She further highlighted the significant role of the judiciary in shaping and refining understanding of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the national context – citing examples of the maternal health cases filed by the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) and the Education case filed by the Initiative for Social Economic Rights (ISER). She reiterated OHCHR’s readiness to support Uganda in its commitments to the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

Following the launch of the Resource book, 30 judicial officers from across the country attended training on enforcing ESCR, discussing challenges and opportunities for taking forward ESCR cases in Uganda.