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Call for Expression of Interest to Conduct an Assessment on the Implementation of the Universal Periodic Review Recommendation on GBV and Health as Made to Uganda During the Review of Uganda’s Human Rights Record

CEHURD wishes to engage a consultant to conduct an assessment on the implementation of the recommendations that were made to and accepted by Uganda.

CEHURD has been involved in the Universal Periodic Review, through which the country’s human rights record is reviewed by other peers.
During the review process, Uganda accepted a number of recommendations aimed at improving Uganda Human Rights record.

Close to two years down the road it is important to asses the progress made in the implementation of recommendations received by the country.

Download Details here; UPR process review – Call for Expression of Interest

Moot Problem and Instructions for the 10th National Inter-University Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition

The Center for Health, Human Rights, and Development (CEHURD) expresses its gratitude to Universities that registered for the 10th National Inter-University Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition. The theme for this year’s competition is “Advancing Reproductive Health and Gender Justice in Uganda”

We are delighted to announce that the Moot problem and Instructions for the 10th Annual CEHURD Moot Court Competition are now available for download.

We extend our best wishes to all participants, wishing you the very best of luck in the competition.



From vision to reality: Two Decades of the Maputo Protocol Enhancing Women’s Lives in Uganda

By Judith Suzan Nakalembe

Twenty years ago, the African Union took a momentous stride towards safeguarding the rights and well-being of women and girls across the continent. In 2003, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the rights of women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) .This landmark instrument was specially designed to address the distinctive challenges encountered by women and girls on the continent, aiming to comprehensively uphold and safeguard their rights. Uganda endorsed the Maputo Protocol on March 22, 2010, signifying the nation’s commitment to champion and foster women’s rights in alignment with the protocol’s principles. The endeavors of the Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) in advocating for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Uganda resonate harmoniously with the principles and goals outlined in the Maputo Protocol.

Article 14: A Catalyst for Change: Article 14 of the Protocol highlights the importance of preserving and advancing women’s reproductive health and rights in Uganda. It emphasizes the need for accessible family planning education, comprehensive health information, and improved healthcare services to reduce maternal mortality rates and protect women’s reproductive rights, including permitting medical abortion in specific circumstance.

  •   Pic: Dignity Empowered: A Woman’s Journey to Fulfilling Her Family Planning Needs and Gender Roles.

Article 14 of the Maputo Protocol imposes a significant responsibility on the Ugandan government to enhance healthcare services for pregnant and breastfeeding women, focusing on prenatal, delivery, and post-natal care, aiming to reduce maternal mortality and improve the well-being of both mothers and children. Furthermore, the article underscores the importance of safeguarding women’s reproductive rights in Uganda by permitting medical abortion in specific situations, acknowledging the complexity of women’s circumstances and prioritizing their overall well-being and reproductive autonomy in the country

Tackling Maternal Mortality and Unsafe Abortions

Uganda faces high maternal mortality rates, largely driven by unsafe abortions due to restrictive abortion laws. Despite the Maputo Protocol’s provision allowing safe and legal abortion in specific circumstances like sexual assault, rape, incest, or threats to a woman’s mental or physical health, Uganda’s reservation to this provision results in a legal landscape that forces many women to seek unsafe procedures, contributing to maternal mortality.



< Pic: Silent Suffering: The Untold Story of a Woman’s Struggle with SRHR Neglect




The Impact and Innovation for Uganda

The Maputo Protocol is a groundbreaking treaty in Uganda. It uniquely links women’s rights with their health, emphasizing the importance of accessible and comprehensive healthcare services, including maternal care and family planning (Article 14(1)). Furthermore, it addresses harmful practices like female genital mutilation and forced sterilization, underscoring the protocol’s commitment to safeguarding women’s health and rights (Article 5).

Advancing Women’s Health in Uganda: A Case Study

CEHURD’s proactive role in championing for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Uganda via advocacy and legal actions impeccably aligns with the Maputo Protocol’s emphasis on women’s rights and gender parity in Africa. Several salient instances and references underscore the alignment of CEHURD’s work with the protocol’s principles:

  • Advocacy for Policy and Legal Reforms: CEHURD has been at the forefront of advocating for the amendment of Uganda’s stringent abortion laws to harmonize with the Maputo Protocol’s call for access to safe abortion services. The organization has fervently campaigned for amendments to the Penal Code, ensuring that women possess the prerogative to make decisions regarding their reproductive health.
  • Legal Action to Challenge Rights Violations: In 2011, CEHURD instigated a landmark case against the Ugandan government, contesting the absence of maternal health services that led to the demise of a pregnant woman. This legal action mirrors the Maputo Protocol’s emphasis on obtaining access to quality healthcare services and holding entities accountable for rights transgressions.
  • Propagation of Health Services: CEHURD’s advocacy Endeavors have significantly contributed to advancing access to sexual and reproductive health services. For instance, the organization has actively participated in campaigns aimed at augmenting awareness about family planning and maternal health services in underserved communities, aligning harmoniously with the Maputo Protocol’s focus on women’s health rights.
  • Education and Awareness: CEHURD has conducted workshops, webinars and seminars to enlighten communities and policymakers about SRHR. Their “Know Your Rights” workshops empower women by disseminating information about their entitlements, encompassing those linked to reproductive health and gender-based violence, in resonance with the Maputo Protocol’s plea for sexuality education and awareness.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: CEHURD’s annual reports and publications chronicle instances of rights violations and disparities in Uganda’s SRHR policies and practices. These reports contribute to the monitoring and reporting mechanisms recommended by the Maputo Protocol to gauge progress in women’s rights.

In Conclusion

As we commemorate two decades of the Maputo Protocol, its enduring influence, marking two decades of progress, continues to drive positive changes in women’s rights and healthcare in Africa, with its impact on Uganda’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights policies serving as a testament to its transformative potential.

The writer is an Advocate/Program Officer at the Center for Health Human Rights and Development Uganda (CEHURD).

By Kitandwe Rhodine

With young people constituting the greater part of Uganda’s population, any health system that does not respond to their health needs misses an opportunity to transform its community. National Development Plan III recognizes the important role that young people play in fostering economic transformation of this country. However, to be able achieve this, young people’s Sexual and Reproductive Health must have been addressed. A healthy and productive population is a critical driving for the realization of demographic dividend.  This, 12th of August, the international community is celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society.  This day is celebrated under the theme, Green Skill for youths: towards a sustainable world.  While green jobs are critical in achieving the demographic dividend, young people’s health is a key driving force in enhancing their productivity. The youth day therefore provides an opportunity for the country to reflect on the sexual and reproductive health of young people as a driver for economic growth.

Further, for a country like mine to be able to rethink its sustainability, especially with the fast-growing population of young people, improving its legal and policy framework on SRHR for them is key. In doing so, the government needs to put into consideration their unique sexual needs as well as invest public resources in the realization of the right to health. This will assure them a functional public health delivery system which is critical not just for the young people but the poor and marginalized communities in our society. A study by the world Bank demonstrated that young people are among the poorest strata in our community and as such the biggest beneficiaries of a functional public health system.

It is also important to note that one of greatest inhibiting factors to access to health and sexuality information for young people continues is misinformation and contestations of certain populations within the society. Even when sexuality education is provided in schools (which attract  about 39% of girls and 38% boys), much of what should be given  is not curriculum based. Ideally, there is a lot of information that young people have is from peers and internet yet with the developments in the world, majority of the populace that cannot access this have failed to understand the dimensions of young people. Perhaps, if the government had done much more than it provides and ensured that such information can be accessed in facilities beyond schools, sensitized communities, we would be in a much better place. The cost of inaction in as far as young people’s Sexual and reproductive health is concerned is extremely high.

Teenage pregnancy is currently responsible for nearly one fifth (18 percent) of pregnancies in Uganda and nearly half (46%) of unwanted pregnancies. It is worth noting that teenage pregnancies contribute 20% of infant deaths and 28% of maternal deaths. Access to sexual and reproductive health information and services is extremely crucial for young people.

Many young people see their potential hindered by social norms, cultural attitudes, institutional and structural barriers and violations of their fundamental rights by virtue of their age. Even when they require sexual and reproductive health services, young people often face discrimination and stigma because of societal norms in countries around the world. As a result, that judgement feeds back into health services where young people fear that their confidentiality is not secure or that they will be discriminated against. Discriminatory laws or policies prevent young people from accessing sexual and reproductive services without parental consent, or even allow healthcare workers to deny services based of their own religious beliefs.

As we commemorate the International Youth Day, we need to reflect on the need to transform the public health service delivery so as to be able to service the health needs of young people. We need to embolden young people, create for them platforms to engage in decision making and contribute to national discussions and development. This way, we will assure them of a sustainable world.  The Ministry of Health IN Uganda for example is working in collaboration with the Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) will host the Uganda National Conference on Health, Human Rights and Development with a specific focus on the country’s advancement on realising the right to health within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They have themed it as “The right to Health: A vital component in achieving SDGs” and will hold it between 26th to 29th September. Part of the reason for this conference is to have concrete discussions on building a strong and profound health system that serves all especially the young people. Indeed, with such platforms, the country can assure young people of a health system that serves their needs.

The writer is a lawyer, passionate about Health Rights for young people and working at Center for Human Rights and Development (CEHURD).

A version of this article was first published in Daily Monitor Newspaper on 12th August 2023.

By Noor Nakibuuka

On 10th and 11th July 2023, Africans converged in Nairobi, Kenya to commemorate 20 years of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (The Maputo Protocol). The protocol was adopted on the 11th of July 2003 in Maputo. It is one specific piece of legislation that advances women’s rights in Africa.

The celebrations come in at a time when most African countries are facing retrogression in advancing women’s rights. Uganda, for example, has had several incidences where access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for girls and women, which is a key pillar in this protocol, is on a descending trajectory. At the same time, other countries like South Sudan have taken bold steps to adopt the protocol given its importance in advancing women’s rights in Africa. South Sudan makes the 44th country out of 55 African countries to adopt the protocol.

As we commemorated the 20 years of Maputo, the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) had an opportunity to engage in one of the side events that were organized by IPAS Africa Alliance in collaboration with other partners like Akina Mama wa Afrika to specifically focus on Article 14 of this protocol. The article  discusses access to safe abortion as a key human rights issue. From the discussions, it was emphasized that indeed many African countries should look into this instrument to advance women’s rights to access safe abortion, since many still have archaic legislations that restrict the same at domestic level.

While speaking at this side event, Commissioner Njie Sallah of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights specifically highlighted the importance of this article that, “the article is one that we would all wish to retain, highly guard and utilize it to advance women’s rights. Many African countries do not have such a progressive legislation when it comes to this issue and it’s important that as human rights activists, leaders, pan Africans, government officials, deeply think about the importance of this article”. The Maputo Protocol is one of its kind.

The commemoration also comes at a time when many countries have boldly advanced conversations around access to safe and legal abortion. In Uganda, the Constitution allows Parliament to enact a law regulating termination of pregnancy. However, since its promulgation in 1995, parliament has not taken such a step. This prompted CEHURD to institute a legal case in the Constitutional Court for an interpretation of this particular constitutional provision. The existing Penal Code Act, was enacted over 70 years ago and does not address public health discussions that have since been advanced by the colonialists including Britain to put aside such legislations. The court is yet to issue a ruling in this matter.

Uganda is celebrated for having boldly ratified the Maputo Protocol. While the state entered a reservation on article 14(2)(c) of the same, pertaining to reproductive health and safe abortion, commendable steps have been taken to advance the rights of women. Uganda enacted various pieces of legislation that place women at the forefront of decision making. Beyond the Constitution that stipulates equality, non-discrimination, the maternal role that women play in society, and the leadership of women, among others, the Domestic Violence Act, 2010, Equal Opportunities Commission Act 2007, the Penal Code Act cap 120, the Public Finance Management Act, 2015, et cetera, have provisions that advance gender equality and women’s rights.

At the 20th anniversary of Maputo, it is worthy to note that this protocol is special. Of all the regional and international human rights instruments that Uganda and other African countries have ratified, the Maputo Protocol is one of a kind and a lot of attention is paid to it. Implementation of the Maputo Protocol has been the core agenda under the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) to which CEHURD is a member together with 62 other Civil Society Organisations working across 32 African countries to protect and advance women’s rights. SOAWR has ensured that each of the African member countries works towards the implementation of the protocol and reports back to the committee even when governments have fallen short of this reporting.

CEHURD celebrates SOAWR, for having taken this bold step. We will continue to work to ensure that women’s rights are recognized, protected, respected and fulfilled.

The writer is a Lawyer and Deputy Executive Director – Programmes at Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD).