human rights

Police officers cannot escape responsibility for rights abuse by citing ‘higher orders’ – Ugandan court

A judge of Uganda's high court has ruled that individual members of the police and other security forces may not rely on 'higher orders' or claims that they were waiting for orders 'from above', to justify human rights violations. Judge Margaret Mutonyi ordered significant damages as compensation to a number of applicants after she found police had abused their rights. In one of the two applications she dealt with, a number of people were unlawfully arrested and detained for participating in a legal protest against the raising of Uganda's presidential age limit.

Read judgment

It would be difficult to overstate the potential importance of a case just decided by the High Court in Uganda. More than a dozen applicants went to court against a number of police officers and the Attorney-General. Originally two separate matters, the applications were joined by the High Court judge presiding, Margaret Mutonyi, who said they raised similar issues.

Help secure African Court’s future: here’s your chance

One of the continent’s most precious and prized institutions, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is under immense pressure. Its very existence as a human rights court for the continent is at stake – and now you can join in doing something about it. The court is asking for input on its next five-year plan and we urge you to take this plea for helpful ideas very seriously. Celebrate Africa Day by ensuring your voice is heard on the court’s future role!

Read the Court Registrar's letter

Complete the survey

All of the African Union’s members – well over 50 of them – agreed to the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. But very few of those countries have fully signed up by way of allowing individuals and NGOs to bring human rights-based cases for adjudication.

A win for all of South Africa against brutality by security forces

In a major victory for human rights delivered by the high court in South Africa, the family of Collins Khosa and their neighbours have won a court application for orders against the security forces and their bosses. And they will no doubt be awarded significant damages when that part of the litigation is eventually heard.


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