ISER held it’s 6th annual national conference on Economic, social and cultural rights with the theme of strengthening access to justice for Economic, social and economic rights.
Initiative for Social & Economic Rights (ISER ) was formed to ensure full recognition, accountability and full realization of social and Economic Rights.
Access to Justice is a core element of the rule of law and an essential prerequisite for the protection and promotion of all human rights. It is a right grounded on the recognition that everyone in the world enjoys equal rights and it is the obligation of the state to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedom for all individuals including their economic social rights (ESRs) without distinction of any kind.
According to the organisation, there have been a lot of findings in regards to fulfillment of these social, economic and cultural rights for all the citizens in Uganda. And here are some of these findings;
As a country, Uganda has, to some degree, put in place a supportive legal framework and formal grievance mechanisms to ensure access to judicial and other remedies for violations of Human rights including Economic Social Rights.
The inadequate legal and policy framework relating to ESRs has affected the way courts of law have adjudicated ESRs and makes the process of filing and arguing cases more onerous for victims of violations and advocates.
The prioritization of Civil and Political Rights within the justice law and order sector results in undue delays in the hearing and conclusion of ESCRs cases.
While all this was discovered, the biggest discovery was that there are still a lot of delays within the courts of law in ensuring that all the cases that presented to them are heard and dealt with.
The report noted that it takes the Supreme Court, an average of 758 days and the Court of Appeal, 1205 days to dispose of appeals and constitutional matters in the Court of Appeal. In 2017/18, the High Court took an average time of 549 (days) to dispose of cases.
There are economic or financial obstacles hindering access to the courts and quasi-judicial mechanisms for example, high procedural costs, legal fees and transport expenses incurred as a result of the location of tribunals and courts.
There has also been a rise of an issue where Ugandans are not able to negotiate better employment terms and this continues to affect many Ugandans.
According to Ms Grace Mukwaya of Platform for Labor, many workers in the informal sector are unable to negotiate better employment terms and this is worsened by the high unemployment rate in the country
If government does not put a minimum wage people are going to continue going abroad for jobs despite seeing bad stories online. A person would rather go abroad try out their luck with a salary of 800K than stay here with one of 50K per month.
The workers going abroad don’t have the knowledge to negotiate and discuss the terms of the contract. They leave all this to be done by the companies taking them and this should stop if we want to see something good in working abroad.
Dr. Sylvia Mukasa stresses that there is need for a deliberate action by both government and CSOs to popularize ESCRs among the duty bearers as well as the the public so that they are more empowered to claim redress in case those rights are violated.
Ms. Baleke stressed that Violation of human rights doesn’t come as an accident,those in power are well aware of these laws but they oppress people knowingly especially when you look at issues of government grabbing land.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!