By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA NEWS] Access to justice for adequate living rights has been eased for Ugandans, especially the vulnerable poor.
The launch of the Magistrates Manual, a product of Center for Food Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT), supported by the International Development Organization (IDLO) will greatly enhance sustainable access to justice through out the country. For now, the first beneficiaries will be the vulnerable communities living in Buyende, Kiboga, and Kyakwanzi.
David Kabanda the Executive Director CEFROHT said addressing cases of adequate living rights in Ugandan courts will now be handled with ease and in a short period of time.
Why the manual is important
The magistrate’s manual was developed after carrying out a training needs assessment for justice actors to identify knowledge gaps on the use of the Human Rights (Enforcement Act 2019) to frame and redress adequate issues from human rights perspective.
The enactment of the Human Rights Act 2019 operationalized Article 50(4) of the 1995 Constitution by laying out the procedure for human rights adjudication that expressly grants Magistrates’ Courts competent jurisdiction to handle such matters.
Speaking at the launch of the manual held at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala on Friday, Kabanda said the manual will act as a guiding document for training of the judicial officers, court officers, and appointed court mediators.
‘’The Manual will detail the procedures of framing adequate living issues as a human rights issue, and redress mechanisms of solving adequate living rights perspective,’ said counsel Kabanda.
He told the gathering attended by magistrates, court clerks, Registrars. High Court Judges and Justices of the Supreme Court that the manual will be used by CEFROHT and the Judicial Training Institute as a resource for future use to induct new magistrates.
‘CEFROHT very graciously appreciates the partnership and support of the International Development Organization (IDLO) for funding this process,’ said Kabanda
Justice Chibita commends CEFROHT
His Lordship the Supreme Court Judge Michael Chibita who launched the manual as Chief Guest hailed the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights for helping the Judiciary come out with such as important manual. ‘My request and appeal is for CEFROHT to make these manuals available for all magistrates countrywide. I know this is not your role, but as a civil society we appreciate your efforts in making these (manuals) available. You have saved the judiciary time and money,’ said Chibita the former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Good move for Ugandans
Although 86% of Ugandan adults are aware of their rights to seek justice, only 37% have knowledge about the courts of law. His Worship Michael Bbosa the Grade One Magistrate in Kiboga stunned the audience when he said as a magistrate and only lawyer in the district (Kiboga) he faces stiff challenge regarding scores of people who throng his offices seeking for legal opinion.
‘For eight years as Grade One Magistrate in Kiboga I have had to advise both the plaintiffs and defendants on cases that appear before me. Even if I send them to the court clerks for legal guidance, they insist on hearing from me,’ said Bbosa. He said the manual will go a long way in easing cases related to adequate living rights.
‘This Magistrates Manual will equip justice actors with competencies to handle claims of adequate living rights,’ he said.
Diana Angwech the Vice President Uganda Law Society said the implementation of the Enforcement Act 2019 had remained a hard challenge.
What does CEFROHT do?
CEFROHT is a Human Rights organization whose mission is to promote social justice in food, health, and trade systems through the use of legal tools and social accountability approaches such as social justice, strategic litigation and community empowerment.