Access to Justice (Civil)
Efforts to develop a JLOS Gender Strategy have taken place, and a JLOS Gender Strategy is in draft. There is a genuine effort to ensure gender mainstreaming in the Sector’s objectives, programme and activities as well as in staffing and human resources.
Gender champions exist in the Sector with apparent commitment and value to address gender within the work of the Sector- the challenge for JLOS is to learn how to adopt a pragmatic and systematic approach to gender mainstreaming. SIP III presents this opportunity and will concretise progress in legislation, policy and analytical work improving the pace of transformation. JLOS will improve its collection and analysis of data, and capacity development in gender analysis to inform the establishment of priorities and the implementation of activities.
Justice for Children
Since JLOS SIP 1 in 2000, JLOS has engaged in discussions at various levels to ensure access to justice for all particularly the poor and vulnerable groups, children inclusive. However service delivery to children remained fragmented at institutional level. A number of promising initiatives have been limited in scope - mainly serving children in conflict with the law and over shadowing equally important claims of children in the justice system for instance, in the areas of management of estates, custody, guardianship, protection of victims of crime and related services. Many of the justice system practitioners have had to adopt a make “do approach” dictated by resource limitations, rather than need, priority or statutory and internationally ratified obligations. The gaps are most evident within the Probation and Social Welfare Services where policy, staffing and structural challenges have to be addressed in a systematic manner.
The sector through the Judiciary is working to address issues of jurisdiction to handle children matters in alignment with the phasing out of Grade II Magistrates under the Professionalization of the Bench policy. The Sector has also focused efforts and resources on up scaling and harmonizing the implementation of good practices and concepts like diversion – that are only important and meaningful to children only if applied consistently across the system.
Through the Justice for Children Program, the Sector has been able to integrate all these pockets of good practices into an interrelated, coherent and integrated service for children, shifting approach from institution to system wide planning, implementation and accountability for results for children.
Land is a key strategic resource to Uganda’s population and is a core primary factor of agricultural production, ecosystem stability, and climate resilience. Prevalence of land conflicts at household level is high at 34.9% and is slightly higher amongst rural households (36%) compared to urban households (33%). Only 20% of land conflicts are not reported to any dispute resolution option. With a dispute resolution rate of 59.9% for land conflicts at first instance and an average dissatisfaction rate of only 13.3 % the land justice system is rated fair.
Though the majority of cases are handled in semi-formal fora, the sector is working on strengthening oversight and setting standards while clarifying mandates of the different fora. Taken together, the situation of the land administration environment has significant implications for the Justice, Law and Order Sector to regulate and govern relations relating to the management of water resources, food security, forests, natural resource management, human health, infrastructure, and livelihoods. Land related wrangles and conflicts continuously flow into the criminal justice system. This situation has the potential to affect the country’s development and growth trajectory.
The high rate of population growth together with poor environment management practices means that more pressure will be exerted on the natural resource base, even if only to maintain the current quality of life, much less to contribute to economic growth and deliver environmental benefits. The role of the Justice, Law and Order Sector to protect, promote and enforce the environmental legal, policy and regulatory framework working together with other sectors is important.