Policy and Advocacy Briefs

Getting children back to school: Emerging human rights issues from the nationwide reopening of schools in Uganda

The Government of Uganda closed schools for nearly 2 years in a bid to control the spread of the corona virus. This Policy Brief highlights a number of emerging education rights issues that require the urgent attention of government following the reopening of schools early this year.

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Analysis of Uganda’s 1992 government white paper using the tool “Planning to fulfil the right to education”

Analysis of the 1992 Government White Paper on Education submitted by the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER)and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)

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Memorandum on Education and Sports Sector Policy Review

ISER's Memorandum on Education and Sports Sector Policy Review focusing on aspects like relevance of UPE and USE programs; public-private partnerships in education; exclusion; to mention but afew

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Submission to the Health Committee of Parliament on the Public Health (Amendment) Bill, 2021

On 22nd February 2022, ISER made a presentation to the Health Committee of Parliament on the Public Health (Amendment) Bill 2021, calling for a balance between public health and human rights.

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Uganda Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Factsheets

2022 UPR Fact Sheets

Ahead of Uganda's third UPR cycle review on 27 January 2022, ISER coordinated the submission of  a joint civil society report on economic, social rights issues endorsed by 54 organisations and a report on Covid 19 and ESCRs. These four fact sheets on Health, Education, Business and Human rights, Poverty, economic inclusion and fiscal policy accompany these submissions. The  fact sheets  highlight recommendations we thought could be prioritized during Uganda’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review in January and provide an overview on what government has been able to do in terms of progress on prior recommendations, identify gaps.

The Covid 19 pandemic has underscored why the country must pay greater attention to economic social rights, particularly strengthening public social services like health and education  The country has had an education crisis during the last two years and the public health sector was overwhelmed with an oxygen crisis  both a result of chronic under financing over the years and poor stewardship. Vulnerable groups like women, the poor, persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the gaps in public social services. Amidst rising poverty, social protection and economic inclusion is increasingly important yet social protection has been underfunded and piecemeal. The requirement for digital ID to access social protection or social services has resulted in exclusion, particularly for those in extreme poverty. Without a strong legal and  regulatory framework businesses continue to violate human rights ranging from not seeking free, prior and informed consent of affected communities before their investment projects, child labour to violating rights like health in the midst of a pandemic  We hope to see strong recommendations that could aid our advocacy on the ground. 

Uganda has undergone two prior  UPR reviews in 2011 and 2016. During the  last UPR, Uganda received 226 recommendations, 148 were accepted by the government and 78 were noted. Among the issues that came under the spotlight during Uganda’s second UPR in Geneva was the country’s progress in realizing economic and social rights over the past five years. Despite the Government’s commitment to the SDGs and the ethos of leaving no one behind, the realisation of socio-economic rights remains a challenge, especially for the poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups. ISER worked closely with different government Ministries Departments and Agencies and civil society to monitor implementation of economic social rights recommendations. ISER worked with government to develop an Economic Social and Cultural Rights matrix which contained strategies to implement recommendations including indicators that harmonized with the SDGs.

  1. Right to Health
  2. Right to Education
  3. Business and Human Rights
  4. Poverty, economic inclusion and fiscal policy 
Please Click on The Links Above to Download Full Reports.


2016 UPR Fact Sheets

In preparation for Uganda's review at the 26th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November 2016, the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) and the Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) have produced a series of short briefing papers (Factsheets) highlighting human rights concerns in the following areas:
Please Click on The Links Above to Download Full Reports.

Funding public services remains the best use for Uganda’s new Special Drawing Rights allocation

In August 2021, the IMF Board of Governors approved1 a new $ 650-billion-dollar general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to all member countries to help them grapple with the pandemic and fund their recovery. This followed sustained advocacy by civil society including the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) who argued that developing countries lacked fiscal space to be able to respond to the pandemic. As an allocation, Uganda received $490 million (Ugx. Shillings 1.7 trillion) of these newly issued funds. 

In this brief, we call on the Ugandan Government to make use of the country’s new SDRs to fund stronger public services for the achievement of a just and inclusive recovery. Our call to Government is that a timely decision be undertaken to channel these resources to the Ministry of Finance for public spending than rather holding the entire allocation as reserves. Specifically, these should be used to fund current public health facilities and public school needs and as well provide support to the most vulnerable.

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Uganda's Small Business Recovery Fund: Does it go far enough?

The COVID -19 induced crisis has greatly affected many businesses in Uganda. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have felt the largest pinch given their inherent fragility even before the crisis. As the Government imposed a lockdown and other measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, many small businesses were scrapped of their cash flows.

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Eight (8) Reasons why Government should safely reopen schools

The ineffectiveness in the delivery of continued learning during the on going COVID 19 pandemic leaves the country with no option but to safely reopen schools if education is to continue for all children. ISER highlights eight (8) reasons why the Government should safely reopen schools.

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Reclaiming public health services in Uganda: Economic and Social Rights Advocacy (ESRA) Brief Issue 13

The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of strong public health services to deliver equitable healthcare. The countries that most successfully navigated the pandemic tended, overwhelmingly, to have entrenched and resilient public health systems. The clarion call for “health for all” – regardless of ability to pay - is thus unsurprising. The global pandemic has seriously underscored the need for strong public health systems and strong government stewardship of healthcare-related infrastructure, human resources and financing. This is the backdrop of the 13th issue of the Economic and Social Rights Advocacy (ESRA) Brief.

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A drop in the ocean: Uganda’s Covid-19 cash transfer

As the Government of Uganda plans to roll out a Covid-19 Relief Fund to vulnerable persons in urban areas, this policy brief underscores the importance of a human rights approach when crafting economic relief programs with a view that it will inform policymakers and key stakeholders in the design and implementation of a direct cash transfer program.

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Where Did COVID 19 Money Go?: International Finance Institutions' Funding to Uganda

This report documents the different forms of financing that Uganda received from IFIs to prevent, manage and control the COVID-19 pandemic as well as mitigate the associated socio-economic impacts; examines the implementation and accountability gaps in key projects that were financed; and draws lessons and recommendations for the ongoing and future pandemic financing responses and implementation mechanisms

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Reclaiming Public Social Services: A Peoples Manifesto

To date, Uganda struggles with weak public health systems and inadequately equipped schools, lack of access to clean and safe water and expensive and often inaccessible electricity. The State is obligated to invest more in social protection and public services such as health and education, however, these public critical services continue to be under funded. This Peoples Manifesto details demands that the Government should seriously take not of so as to deliver quality and equitable public social services.

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