source:judiciary of uganda
Across-section of judicial officers, justice actors, and humanitarian advocates gathered at the Mestil Hotel in Kampala to witness the launch of the Handbook on Refugee Access to Justice.
This handbook, drafted by the International Rescue Committee(IRC) aims at enhancing the awareness of judicial officers and other stakeholders on refugee policies, ultimately improving access to justice for refugees in Uganda.
While launching the handbook, Supreme Court Hon. Justice Christopher Izama Madrama, Chairperson of the Validation Committee, noted that the book is useful and provides knowledge not taught in schools adding that many people are not aware of legal frameworks that relate to the needs of refugees.
Hon. Justice Madrama said refugees can at times find themselves in conflict with the law and that when refugees come to the country, they should be taken through how to go about the law and pledged commitment, on behalf of the Judiciary to support them.
“I would like to assure you that the Judiciary remains committed to the efforts of collaboration among stakeholders. We are committed to leading the conversation regarding the humanitarian justice sector reforms. Our institution is committed to employing alternative yet effective measures of dealing with refugees who come into contact with the law.”
Adding; “together our goal should be to have a world where everyone regardless of background can access justice “, added Madrama.
Hon. Justice Dr. Douglas Singiza, a Judge at the Civil Division of the High Court, took participants through the Gap Analysis and how the Handbook addresses the challenges that refugees face when accessing justice.
Hon. Justice Dr. Singiza noted that the book will empower judicial officers to make informed and meaningful decisions as it also highlights some of the challenges the refugees face in a bid to access justice in courts of law.
“I encourage everyone to use the Handbook as a very important tool on refugee matters and also as a resource to our commitment as a country to support them,” he said.
He also explained that the handbook enhances their knowledge in access to justice and judicial officers should ensure that the knowledge got is put into action.
He called upon everyone especially journalists to relay this information to all people noting that everyone can be a refugee.
Mr.Elijah Okeyo, IRC Country Director, expressed his gratitude for the support of the Principal Judge and the Honorable Justices from the Supreme Court of Uganda, Court of Appeal and the High Court.
He explained that the Handbook plays a crucial role in ensuring refugees can access justice by highlighting the key roles played by various institutions and providing guidance for refugees seeking justice through the formal justice system.
Mr. Okeyo added that the Handbook will serve as a training instrument for Judicial officers and a reference document in courts of law, thus promoting a more just and inclusive society for refugees in Uganda.
He noted that the launch of the Handbook represents a significant step in addressing the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers in their pursuit of justice.