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Activities

 

Activities

Two major activities were carried out and these were the International law fellowship and the Philip C. Jessup Moot competition Uganda National Rounds. Below is a narrative of how the two days transpired to lead to the success the two activities had;

ITEM 2

International law and rule of law fellowship 15th February 2019, School of Law Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

ITEM 1

The event began with open- ing remarks from the ILSA Uganda National Administrator, Mr. Ray- mond Muhekyi who introduced the coordinating team he was working with; Georginah Namuyomba, Colman Ntungwerisho, Joel Lutim- ba Lumala and Alinda Bennett Francis Xavier. The National Administrator expressed his grati- tude towards those who attended the event, gave the brief purpose of the ILSA and went on to flag off the event.

UNIFOG’s coordinator Mr. Ayub Lukungu Kiranda introduced representatives from UNIFOG and KAS Uganda. He was followed by Mr. Bruce Kabaasa who addressed the conference on a number of issues including the importance of fraternity among students. He encouraged students to balance academics and solidarity with people from all works of life while at university.

ITEM3

Dr. Kabumba Busingye presented a paper titled: “African Approaches to Interna- tional Law: Hard Choices, Soft Law and Legiti- macy in the International Order’’

Dr. Kabumba began his address with remarks on the role of law lecturers at the university. He expressed himself on the chal- lenges they face while teaching the law and ended this with the remark that was much welcomed by the listeners that, “to think, teach, publish in spite of the hardships...is a revolutionary act.”

In the presentation on his paper, he laid out the normative concepts of law which include; hard law as a source of law enshrined in Arti- cle 38 of the Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties and similarly soft law which is entailed in works of publicists and other dec- larations. Soft law is something that is less than traditional law that is, not as strong in terms of obligation. He went on to highlight colonialism as a traditional approach to law. In trying to make a clear picture of the law he stated that it is a danger for one to come to the law with the ideation that it works for everyone. It is important to understand the prejudices, those who can use tools of soft law to mobilize for their empowerment.

 

The concept of soft law as furthered by Dr. Kabumba is the ability for the other oppressed to speak and not be concerned with the corners of Article 38. It allows for them to take part in norm generation and the implementation of the law including the adjudication of disputes. However, he adds that soft law should derive its power in legiti- macy, there should be compliance that is based on consent instead of force. In the illustration of how force can be used in enforcing international law, he gave the TRIPS as a set of laws that were received by the developing countries as a result of coer- cion from the powerful ones, this is reflected in the manner of debate preceding the final draft. What the representatives from the big powers wished, was adopted.

He therefore sought to conclude his argu- ments on soft power by underscoring the need to use legitimate soft law to respond to the illegitimate tenets of hard law. And for Africa to achieve this as a less powerful player, it must adopt an African approach that is progressive, legitimate and considers the development of soft law as a process.

He finished his remarks and joined a panel that substantiated the content of his presentation further. On this panel, Dr. Kabumba was joined by Mr. Daniel Duom Kelei Ayak, a student of law from South Sudan. Duom highlighted the issue of many African leaders who seek to condemn   the ICC when it indicts them for crimes they commit while in office. He went on to appreciate the key note presentation and added his voice to the calls for African approaches to Interna- tional law using legitimate soft power. After answering the questions put to him, Dr. Busingye  closed with this statement: “No single law can entirely rely on sanctions as a form of enforcing compliance, it must have something more, that is compliance.”

ITEM4: At about 11:00am, Mr. Jesse Magero from Refugee Law Project gave a presentation on, “The pur- pose and implications of the UN Global Compact on Refugees in the African context.”

He stated that Uganda is one of the leading refugee destinations in the world only coming after Pakistan. He noted that this compact has been rejected by many powerful states, a thing which points to its non-binding force. The issue of burden sharing is part of the reasons why the big powers such as Russia and China rejected the compact.                                       

After his introduction of the compact to the audience, there followed a panel of distinguished people in the field of refugees that further discussed the compact. The session was moderated by Mr. Donnas Ojok the Pro- gram Manager, Konrad Adanuer Stiftung.

Colman Ntugwerisho, a fourth-year student of Law at Makerere University School of law:

 

Colman Ntugwerisho, a fourth-year student of Law at Makerere University School of law:

Stated that the refugee burden is borne by the list developed countries. He expressed himself on the need for sharing of this burden by the wealthy states. He was of the view that there should be com- prehensive empowerment of refugees so that even when they go back to their countries, they are able to make a living for them- selves.

 

Mr. Gard Benda, Executive Director at World Voices Uganda:

He talked about the causes

of the conflicts which escalate the refugee crises especially because those conflicts are hinged on the fight for con- trol of resources.

He used this opportunity to shade more light on the com- pact. That it provides for inclusivity of all stakeholders, that is to say; NGOs, govern- ments, local and host com- munities. He furthered high- lighted the need to focus on urban refugees who are often overlooked.

Mr. Jesse Magero, Legal Officer at the Refugee Law Project, School of Law, Makerere University

and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda:

Gave a brief of RLP’s refugee employment policy which is 50:50, meaning they employ 50% refu- gees and 50% others.

The audience was let in on this to have their take on the topic. Some expressed the concern that some refugees could be mercenaries with other agendas from those who pose a threat to the host country. The panelists where all in agreement on the need to address the lacunas in the refugee policies and laws of Uganda to cater for urban refugees.

This session ended at exactly 1:00pm, where after the conference broke off for lunch.

 

UNHEARD OF THINGS

 

This poem is an amen after Chinua’s sermon

“Let no one be fooled by the fact that we may write in English For we intend to do unheard of things with it.”

 

Let me spill the secret About this English

It is colonial

We refuse to let go We write it

We speak it

Some say we shouldn’t use it But may be it’s a caterpillar

And decades of capture in this prickly case Have birthed a beauty.

 

When a story is written in English The story does not cease to belong When Jennifer Makumbi

Writes Kintu in the English language She only creates a Ugandan narrative Of the first beings and their kings

Just like in the Iliad.

 

 

 

 

ITEM 5: Poem by Ms. Daphne Arinda.The poem was entitled, Unheard of. It told of the need to have the African story to be told in the African language. She also went on to recite a romanticized piece of art titled: Rasta written in three languages; Rukiga, English and Rutooro. This poem was presented in several languages as a portrayal of the diversity of languages in Uganda.

 

Why can’t we also lay claim over the stars and gods

If the Americans, the British have written myths, poetry, fantasies If they have celebrated in this world knowledge

Why can’t we?

Are we not part of the story? The tales of Gipiri, Labongo,

The legends of Rubaare, Nyabingi And Njabala and Nambi?

 

Language is only a river bed, a route We can not lose

The waters that flow

We still swim in that knowledge. We are children of these waters

We don’t sink to the bottom and become fossils We thrive, we continue with the waters

We tell myths, stories, poetry, fantasies About the stars and gods

We give new names

We are No Violet Bulawayo

We curve colonies on the shelves of prizes,

 

Nobel and Booker,

We are the Bluest Eye, The Colour Purple,

The ones painting English anew in shades of dialects That have never been heard of.

 

We create new routes for the water to flow through

So that people on the other end can also hear the rush

They can recognize it as it flows

Though it is diverting from the English riverbed

 

English spread itself to us

On the wheels of imperialism And now it is a wheel

 

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Upon which communication spins Across the continents.

 

By Arinda Daphine

 

ITEM 6

Presentation: Arnold Kwesiga, Coor- dinator of the Uganda Consortium on Cor- porate Accountability (UCCA)

Topic: ‘The UN Guiding principles on busi- ness and human rights are to be codified in a legally binding treaty. What does this mean for corporate governance in Africa?’

He illustrated the nature of the guiding prin- ciples as voluntary and encompassing of the principles of protect, respect and access to remedies for an aggrieved party. In the Prin-

 

The principle of respect requires due diligence so that there is no actual and potential violation of human rights while access to remedies connotes the need for effective remedies and the ability to bring the abusers to book. States should have mechanisms of ensuring that multinational corporations do not violate human rights especially in conjunction with the home states of those businesses. He gave an example of the Royal Van Zanten in Entebbe

ciples, the state is mandated to protect people from violations by third parties. The principles are to ensure that activities of business entities do not abuse human rights. The state should have the ability to enforce them and investigate violations. He went on to break down the other two princi- ples respect and access to remedies.

 

whose actions of violating the labor rights of its employers were only capable of being addressed with the intervention of their mother country in Europe. He also reported that during the negotiations, South Africa and Ecuador suggested a binding instru- ment on business and human rights hence the draft treaty negotiations.

Mr. Kwesiga went on to show how, many corporations have used corporate social responsibility to disguise their human rights violations. He also highlighted the danger of those who have the capital to influence policy and politics which in turn frustrates the realisation of corporate accountability.                                                                                                        

 

Followed with a panel discussion;

 

Mr. Joel Lutimba Lumala, 4th year law student and Volun- teer at the Public Law Interest Clinic.

  • Talked about the tariness of the human rights aspects inbusiness.
  • Need to have the soft laws on business and human rights codified.
  • Expressed towards the guidingprinciples, called it a great promise.
 

Mr. James Muhindo, National Coordinator for the Civil Soci- ety Coalition on Oil and Gas.

  • Highlighted the impor- tanceofalegallybindingtreaty to bring the business entities that abuse human rights book.
  • Made mention of need to have effective domes- tic mechanisms.
  • Also underscored the voluntary nature of principles seems to be attract- ing the attention of ment.
  • Talked about the that there is no immunity for the actions of ments that undertake ness.
 

Mr. Derrick Lutalo, Program Officer for the Uganda Con- sortium on Corporate Accountability (UCCA).

  • Said that government should put in place the institu- tions (for remedies) and make themwork.
  • The treaty on business and human rights should be able to provide the local people with access to reme- dies.

 

Ms. Arinda Daphne, Executive Director Legal Brains Trust.

  • That aid should be ditioned on the respect for humanrights.
  • Social impact clauses should be included in the investmentagreements
  • International labor dards should beemphasized.
  • There followed a of questions and reactions from theaudience.

 

Daphne in response:

  •  
  • Attacking the national identityofthesecompaniesis

important.

 

James Muhindo in response:

  • Human rights-based impact assessments do neednationallawtobeputinto effect.
  •  
  • Every country is equal and once foreign companies set foot on a country’s land, theyareboundbythecountry’s laws.
  • There is need for prosecutionbythelocalvictims of even government theviolators.

 

 

Joel in response:

  • At the heart of business and human rights is not the undermining of the essence business to make profit but that there should be an aspect of human rights sensitivity in business ventures.
 

Lutalo in response:

  • There is need to evidence when bringing these corporations toaccount.
  • Talked about the reser- vation in treaties and gave example of the USA which has been opposed to the Agreement of 2015 as a reflec- tion of how states can stifle the progressive realization of these rights.

 

ITEM 7: Drama The conference ended with a dramatized portrayal of the horrendous situation refugee detainees undergo at the detention centers including police stations and prisons.