Stigma and discrimination, especially against women and girls and key populations, is a major barrier to people using HIV services. Up to 60% of countries report having laws, regulations or policies that deter people in key populations from being able to protect themselves from, or get treatment for, HIV.
Uganda has made much progress in reducing poverty and promoting stability in past years, particularly through improvements on several justice-related indicators. Despite these gains, the justice sector still faces significant challenges relating to funding and capacity, public perceptions of pervasive corruption, inaccessibility of services for the poor sections of the population, low quality and sustainability of the legal aid and information services, costliness and slow speeds of dispute resolution, among others. These challenges have negatively affected citizens’ confidence in the formal system leading people to resort to other means to seek recourse and may also increase the likelihood of violence and further corruption. There is a therefore a need for effective interventions to enhance the reach, quality and sustainability of access to justice in Uganda.
Like other countries on the African continent, the Ugandan justice sector faces many challenges. Citizens demonstrate a widespread distrust towards formal justice institutions, which are perceived as corrupt, removed from the communities, expensive and slow to resolve disputes. This lack of confidence in the formal system leads people to resort to other means to seek recourse, and may also increase the likelihood of violence and further corruption.
In September and October 2017, IDLO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) organized 2 workshops and a dialogue forum in Uganda and Tanzania convening law students and legal academics to discuss the role of the law in national and global HIV responses.
One of the challenges in scaling up HIV-related legal services is the limited number of knowledgeable, skilled and committed lawyers to provide such services. Part of the solution therefore lies in building the capacity of law schools to ensure law graduates are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to support human rights-based approaches to HIV. Many universities, including in East Africa, offer clinical legal education programs to give students direct experience of providing legal information to clients.
“How do we know when the rule of law works? What do we mean by justice?” opened IDLO’s Director of Research and Learning, Ilaria Bottigliero, at the expert roundtable, Critical Reflections on the 2nd Generation of Rule of Law Reform. “For IDLO, it’s when women have better access to justice in Afghanistan. It’s when citizens in Uganda have access to the medicine they need.
Adolescent girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda reflects this disproportionality, with HIV prevalence among young people aged 15-24 estimated at 4.2% for women but only 2.4% for men.
Adolescent girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among young people in sub-Saharan Africa. They are more vulnerable to HIV because they are often subjected to a range of gender and age based biases, discrimination and violence, including sexual assault, forced marriage and trafficking. Despite growing HIV-related responses, they and their communities most often do not have the capacity, voice and power to hold these service providers accountable for improved delivery of quality HIV-related services.
The full report on “Strengthening the Legal Environment for the Elimination of Falsified and Substandard Medicines” is now available. The report is the third product of the pilot and preliminary phase of a larger initiative to build a knowledge base and collection of tools to support a whole-of-government approach to manage the public health problem of falsified and substandard (FS) medicines in any country. See also the executive summary from the beginning stages
Rates of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) remain high in Uganda due to cultural practices, continued internal displacement, and low capacity of the justice system. IDLO is working to advance accountability for SGBV crimes committed in times of or after armed conflict in Uganda.
Strengthening the Legal Environment for Food Security and Nutrition of Vulnerable Groups as part of the COVID-19 Response and RecoveryThe COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant threat to the right to food for populations, and especially for marginalized groups. In many countries, COVID-19 is intertwining with pre-existing factors affecting food security and nutrition, by limiting the access to affordable and nutritious food, including lack of economic opportunities, extreme weather conditions, ongoing conflicts and more.