The Human Rights and Peace Center (HURIPEC), a semi-autonomous department under the School of Law was set up by Makerere University in 1993, as the first human rights center of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although several human rights-related subjects were already being taught at the Faculty of Law, HURIPEC was established solely to foster on teaching, research and activism on human rights and peace issues at the University. Since that time, not only has the number of subjects in the area expanded considerably, also the range of activities being pursued. The centre pursues a vision of contributing to the establishment of a human rights conceintised, educated, activist, academic society in Uganda and countries yonder.

It seeks and has consistently engaged in events geared at promoting the understanding and respect for human rights, democratic governance and sustainable peace in the East Africa sub-region specifically and Africa generally through teaching, research, policy and advocacy.

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Human Rights Training and Education (Short Courses Project)

The centre staff administer various course units under the general bachelors’ degree in law administered by the school of law, Makerere University.  These include regional and international human rights law, human rights law in the domestic perspective and principles of constitutional law.

HURIPEC also runs and presents short courses (Summer Schools) on topics of importance to human rights, good governance and democratization in East Africa.  These are aimed principally at government officials, Non-Governmental organizations Fraternity, lawyers and academics from across the East Africa.  The facilitators of these courses are elected from an extensive collection of experts on the topics covered in the courses.  They include academics, legal practitioners and governmental officials, members from the NGOs and inter-governmental organizations.  The courses include;

  • Eastern African Training School on Human Rights, Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines (EASHRIPATM-with support from the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) aimed at building the capacity of civil society activists, policy makers, lawyers, media practitioners and other key stakeholders in the technical and juridical aspects of Human Rights, Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines; 

  • Summer School on International Criminal Justice.  As a joint project between HURIPEC and the International Law Institute-African Centre for Legal Excellence (ILI-ACE), the programme focused on teaching International Criminal Law to recent law graduates from around the African continent.  The two-week training programme aimed at enabling graduates appreciate the importance of this growing area of legal scholarship and practice, while also equipping them with skills that would allow them to access the increasing opportunities that are becoming available in this area.  The select teaching team during the school was a combination of various professionals with vast experience in ICL related aspects. They include members of the academia, senior lawyers from tribunals such as the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. 

  • Summer School on Governance and Development in Africa. In partnership with the Centre of African Studies (CAS) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)-University of London and with the support from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Centre previously convened a Summer School on the subject of ‘Governance and Development in Africa.’ The School drew participants from across the African Continent including policy makers, legislators, academics, development workers, human rights activists and journalists with the sole aim of discussing central issues on governance and Africa’s development.

  • Summer School on Law, Human Rights and HIV / AIDS.  The Course sought to promote teaching and research on Law, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS in a bid to build the capacity of Eastern African lawyers, activists and policy makers to handle this growing area of jurisprudence, and to be able to address both the technical and juridical aspects of the subject.  The course is targeted towards among others, lawyers, activists and policy makers to be made acutely aware of the various medical, Public Health, politicaland socio-cultural nuances that affect HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.

  • Master’s degree in Human Rights & Democratization in Africa (LLM). Co-administered with the University of Pretoria, South Africa and 5 other African Universities namely the University of Ghana, the Catholic University of Central Africa, Cameroon, the University of the Western Cape, the American University in Cairo in Egypt, Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, this programme brings together 30 top law students from all over the African continent.  HURIPEC receives 4-6 students per year for the second semester of the programme after spending six months in Pretoria where they return in December for graduation.  While at HURIPEC, the students intern with a local human rights organization to have experience of human rights and democratization issues from a practical point of view.

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Events (Both ongoing and Upcoming events)

HURIPEC often organizes diverse events on various topical issues touching on democratization and human rights in Uganda and wider African continent. In the near past, this has included;

  • The HURIPEC Baraza; These are series of dialogues that are organized on a regular basis, and focused on major constitutional developments in the country in Uganda and East Africa generally.  These dialogues are aimed at providing stakeholders with a permanent platform for interrogating major constitutional and human rights developments that arise in Uganda specifically and within the East African region in general.  Electronic copies of reports detailing the discussions that transpire in these Barazas are available for download.

  • Annual State of Governance Conferences; These conferences are organized as part of HURIPEC’s mandate to facilitate and promote multi-stakeholder dialogues on emerging public policy issues in the areas of governance, peace and human rights in a particular year.  The conferences provide a platform for stakeholders to propose solutions to the problems hindering progress in the above mentioned issues/fields. They provide an extra forum for government to account to its citizens.  The conferences attract participants from government, political parties, civil society, academia, media and the diplomatic community in Uganda among other groups.

  • Urgent Reactions/Actions; In reaction to various human rights related issues prevalent at the time in the country and Africa in general, the centre reacts through different advocacy mediums including press releases and statements disseminated to different stakeholders and also posted on the centre website.

  • Internships; The centre runs non-remunerative internships on a competitive basis available to law students with a passion for human rights and constitutionalism related aspects.  In the past, the centre has partnered with civil society organizations such as Human Rights Network-Uganda (HURINET-U), Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) to allow excelling students have a practical experience of working in organizations dealing in human rights advocacy and education.  Some of these interns have in the past been attached to particular projects aimed at grounding the interns/students in the particular issues the project is dealing with.

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Research, Publication and Advocacy

HURIPEC carries out a wide-range of research related projects touching on various human rights issues.  The research is often published and used as outreach teaching and advocacy materials to the various stakeholders in the country.  Research projects include;

  • Governance, Democratization and Human Rights Project; With the main objectives being teaching, research, training and publications in Human Rights and Governance; stimulating debate among staff, students, and policy makers; Improving internal governance and capacity building of Makerere University staff and students. Research areas have in the past included the Situation of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples; Criminal Justice; Military Justice; Multipartism in Practice; Media Rights and Freedom of Expression and Access to Justice. Seven (7) working papers have been so far published under this research project and electronic copies are available for download.

  • Economic, Social And Cultural Rights (ESCRs); focusing on carrying out basic and policy-oriented research on the situation of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs) in Uganda, relating in particular to the general lack of enduring developments in the area, their legal content and effect and the necessary mechanisms for their enhanced enforcement and protection. Research areas include Globalization and ESCRs in Uganda: ESCRs in Northern Uganda; HIV/AIDS and the right to healthcare; The Right to Shelter/Housing; Education: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary; Poverty and Adequate Living Standards and the Question of Water. Fourteen (14) working papers researched and published under this project touching on some of the above issues are available for download in electronic format.

  • Decentralized Governance and Human Rights in Uganda; looking at enhancing access to justice through the promotion of a human rights based approach to governance, service delivery and gender relations at the local level. This has been through undertaking research on governance, human rights and access to justice, and enhanced awareness of local government officials regarding human rights.  Four (4) working papers have so far been published under this project with electronic copies available for download.

  • Debating Form And Substance In Africa’s New Governance Models; An International Workshop aimed at assessing both the success factors of political transition processes in different national contexts, and critically consider the practical obstacles that stand in the way of the realization of the often-lofty ideals embodied in those constitutional instruments.  A book has since been published under this project with various chapters by different expert scholars on governance in Africa. 

  • Examining the Nexus Between ICTs & Human Rights; At the crux of this project is investigating the nexus between ICTs and a range of critical human rights such as the question of access to information and knowledge, the right to privacy, censorship and cyber democracy, the nexus between ICTs and the rights of marginalized groups, and the right to freedom of expression.  These issues are situate within the broader framework of the context of good governance. 

  • HURIPEC Working Papers and HURIPEC Journal.  The East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights (EAJPHR) Journal was initiated and is managed by HURIPEC.  HURIPEC aims at publishing and therefore augmenting availability of and accessibility to ground-breaking, excellence and peer-reviewed articles with a focal point on human rights, democratization, good governance and other aspects of international human rights law, especially in Uganda and East Africa.  HURIPEC also publishes some of the leading reference works on human rights and related aspects on a wide range of topics such as decentralized governance and human rights, economic, social and cultural rights among others.  These are published as working papers on various projects run by HURIPEC.

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    • HURIPEC Archive: The Archive contains information on the older projects that have been undertaken by HURIPEC.

    • Links & Contact Details: The website also includes contact details, areas of academic interest and publications for staff of HURIPEC, and links to other websites that compliment the works of HURIPEC especially in the field of human rights, peace and democratization.  HURIPEC is also on Face book.