Friday, 7 April 2017

#HRCUg17: Law society boss Gimara cautions lawyers on Public Interest Litigation

Gimara makes his point. PHOTO BY @penikat
Uganda Law Society President Francis Gimara has urged lawyers to re-evaluate Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and avoid abusing it.
"What is driving public litigation, is it public interest or private interest? If we are going to help this constitution grow, then the notion of abusing PIL must be dealt with," Gimara said at the inaugural Uganda Human Rights Convention Thursday at Kabira Club in Kampala. 
Gimara  said that to bridge the gap between PIL and social transformation, which was the theme of the day, there needs to be an enabling environment where rule of law thrives.
He added that the country needs to build a culture of respect for human rights without always resorting to PIL to secure human rights.  "Beyond Public Interest Litigation, we still have a lot of work to strengthen institutions," he told the convention. 
He said Uganda must have law reform, right from who makes the laws and in whose interests 

Obore gives his views. PHOTO @IzzyBee256 

Who owns the media?
Chris Obore, head of communications in parliament asked, "who owns the media, is it journalists or businesses? Do we have businesses doing journalism or journalists doing business?"
He said the public often makes a serious mistake to assume the media means journalists. He said mistakes of the media are often wrongly blamed on journalists. 
He was discussing The role of the Media in Public interest litigation
Gimara and Obore were among 20 high profile panelists at the Human Right Convention 2017 organised by Chapter Four Uganda in conjunction with the Netherlands Embassy. It attracted over 300 participants in three sessions with three core themes, on top of a plenary session.  

The theme of the day was From Human Right Litigation to Social Transformation
Opening remarks on how Ugandans can better use public interest litigation to advance social justice and promote rights was delivered by Dr. Zahara Nampewo, director of HURIPEC and Board Chair of Chapter Four Uganda while Henk Jan Bakker, the Ambassador of Netherlands to Uganda, delivered the keynote address.

Here below are the highlights from the plenary and a storify of each of the three breakaway sessions.

Closing the gap: From Human Rights Litigation to social transformation

Litigation gender rights: Experiences, challenges and solutions

Process, practice and Procedural concerns in public interest litigation

The role of the Media in Public interest litigation

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