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.



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). 

Empowering Health Service Providers in Uganda: CEHURD’s Impact on Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Transformation

CEHURD’s strategic litigation approach has been instrumental in strengthening health systems. By utilizing health workers as witnesses in strategic cases, CEHURD has shed light on systemic issues and advocated for policy reforms. Through these efforts, we have successfully influenced positive changes in the healthcare infrastructure, resource allocation, and access to essential medicines and supplies.

By Ms. Ajalo Ruth 

CEHURD is a non-governmental, not-for-profit indigenous research and advocacy organisation established to pioneer advocacy for the justiciability of the right to health in Uganda and East Africa, and with a regional and global impact. CEHURD works towards ensuring that the vulnerable communities in Uganda access health systems and that social justice and human rights in health systems are realized. One of the goals of the organization is to create an enabling legal environment and justice system that promotes, respects, and guarantees the right to health.

The provision of quality sexual and reproductive healthcare services in Uganda has long been a challenge, especially in under-served communities.  CEHURD has over the years taken a deliberate effort in transforming healthcare through legal and policy awareness on sexual and reproductive health and rights thus empowering health service providers with the right information to deliver quality health care. This has been realized through a multi-faceted approach that includes trainings, legal support, and strategic litigation.

CEHURD recognizes the critical role health service providers play in ensuring women and girls do not die due to preventable causes. It has nurtured and sustained relations with medical health service providers associations to create exchange learning platforms where health care service providers are equipped with up-to-date knowledge and skills to deliver effective healthcare services and advocate for better health care systems.

Health service providers have been trained on the Harm Reduction and Life Indication Models. The Harm Reduction Model refers to a range of public health policies and practices designed to lessen the negative social and/or physical consequences associated with various behaviors both legal and illegal, while the Life Indication Model addresses a lacuna that often arises when the state permits abortive procedures under certain exceptions, such as to save the life of the mother. These trainings ensure that health workers are equipped with the necessary information and tools to provide appropriate and compassionate care, reducing harm and improving health outcomes for patients and to keep within the confines of the legal framework in Uganda.

The trainings of health service providers have also paved the way for the development of various knowledge products with information guiding them on how to effectively offer SRHR information and services. There has also been ongoing litigation of cases which are advocating for a progressive legal and policy environment around SRHR to support health workers to operate and offer SRHR services legally.

Given the known controversies around abortion related health care services, CEHURD established the Legal Support Network (LSN). This is a network of lawyers that plays the crucial role of providing free legal services to health service providers who are caught up in the criminal justice system. In addition to representing health workers in legal proceedings relating to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services, the LSN also aims at building a body of legal practitioners knowledgeable on the law and practice on SRHR in Uganda. Further, the LSN has been a big player in the various health service provider trainings as well as ensuring that the said professionals operate within the law.

More so, CEHURD’s strategic litigation approach has been instrumental in strengthening health systems. By utilizing health workers as witnesses in strategic cases, CEHURD has shed light on systemic issues and advocated for policy reforms. Through these efforts, we have successfully influenced positive changes in the healthcare infrastructure, resource allocation, and access to essential medicines and supplies.

CEHURD’s engagement with health workers has yielded remarkable success stories. Health workers involved in CEHURD’s initiatives have demonstrated improved knowledge of laws and policies surrounding SRHR. Their commitment and dedication have been recognized, with accolades such as “Midwife of the Year, 2022” awarded to deserving individuals with whom we have worked. These success stories serve as inspirations, showcasing the positive impact of CEHURD’s empowerment programs on health workers’ professional growth and patient care.

While our work with various health service providers  has achieved notable progress, challenges persist; limited resources, the restrictive legal environment on SRHR, cultural barriers, and social stigmas pose ongoing obstacles to effective healthcare delivery. Additionally, health workers still face risks and legal challenges in providing care related to contested issues such as safe abortion care. CEHURD continues to address these challenges through collaborative efforts and advocacy for policy reforms.

Nonetheless, we continue to invest resources in capacity building for health workers, ensuring they receive ongoing trainings to stay afloat given the slippery Ugandan environment within which they operate vis a vis the evolving healthcare context like digital service provision. It calls for strengthened partnerships with stakeholders to advocate for progressive policies, particularly in sensitive areas like abortion. Additionally, CEHURD emphasizes the importance of expanding legal support networks to protect health workers’ rights and foster a supportive environment within the criminal justice system.

The writer is a Lawyer and a Programme Officer in the Strategic Litigation Programme at CEHURD.

A Call for Applications for the 2023 Media Fellowship on the Role of Media in Achieving Reproductive Equity

Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) invites applications for the media fellowship on sexual reproductive health and rights, 2023. The media fellowship is aimed at expounding on the role of media in achieving reproductive equity for young people in Uganda. It also aims at building a network of journalists who can boldly report on sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people in Uganda and beyond.

This year’s fellowship is designed to strengthen capacities of media personnel in progressive and positive reporting about SRHR. Media plays a fundamental role on advancing reproductive equity once equipped with accurate and appropriate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The focus for this year’s fellowship is SRHR for young people in Uganda and beyond.

Deadline for application is 19th June, 2023.

Call for Participation in the 10th Annual National Inter-University Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition

Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) invites universities with schools/faculties of law in Uganda to participate in the 10th Annual National Inter-University Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition. The moot is scheduled to take place on 26th and 27th October 2023.

The 10th Annual National Inter-University Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition is themed; “Advancing Reproductive Health and Gender Justice in Uganda”

Uganda’s Constitution articulates a commitment to attain gender equality, but there is still a gap between policy and practice. Ensuring accountability for the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights is a human rights obligation and a central tenet of advancing gender justice. Uganda has a high maternal mortality ratio, and there are still challenges in ensuring the right to reproductive health services and information. Promoting gender-equitable attitudes and behaviours and improving sexual and reproductive health are essential to advancing gender equality and sexual and reproductive health among adolescents.

This year’s competition will enable students to debate on how access to information as a key component of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for young people promotes their sexual and reproductive health, and gender justice. They will dissect the extent to which the lack or information on sexual and reproductive health bears a ripple effect on the right to Education and Health through the use of a hypothetical moot problem.

Students will demonstrate the need or otherwise, for the advancement of reproductive health and gender justice through access to information by highlighting the Constitutional rights, referencing international treaties and conventions that Uganda has ratified, emphasizing the obligation to promote and protect reproductive health and gender equality.  The students will also break down gender justice by discussing the need to address sexual and gender-based violence, discrimination, and harmful cultural practices that affect girls and young women and marginalized groups in Uganda clearly denoting how that is easier when young people are empowered with age-appropriate information.

The main objective of the Moot is to train students in practical aspects of litigating health and human rights within Uganda’s Courts of Law. This kind of arrangement helps bring out lawyers that understand key constitutional and health issues beyond what they are taught in class. The Moot specifically aspires to train students in legal writing, professional conduct and demeanour, court decorum and trial advocacy while arguing cases and preparation of Court pleadings.

We call upon universities that are interested in participating to fill »» this form as an expression of interest to participate by Friday, 30th June, 2023 at 5:00 PM (EAT).

#CEHURDMOOT2023 #GenerationGender #ReproductiveJustice #GenderJustice