In recognition of the important role the East African Court of Justice can play in the protection of human rights within the East African Community (EAC) and cognizant of growing interest to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights through legislation and policy at the EAC, KELIN convened a two-day dialogue with 20 civil society and academic representatives within the East Africa sub-region on opportunities to use the EACJ to advance SRHR. Among the institutions present at the meeting included Katiba Institute, Equality Now, Moi University, Society for Family Health, Rwanda, MOLI Burundi, AfriYAN, UMATI, Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum.
The dialogue, which took place on 11-12 October 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania, aimed to achieve the following: introducing civil society organizations (CSOs) to constitutive documents of the EAC and the EACJ; contextualizing SRHR within the Community; and providing a platform for the deliberation on opportunities available to CSOs to engage the Court for the advancement of SRHR.
At the end of this forum, participants explored possible opportunities to use the EACJ in advancing SRHR and human rights in EAC. An action plan was developed with immediate action points to be taken including: analysis and reconceptualization of EAC’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill; establishment of a loose consortium of lawyers to discuss opportunities to litigate at the EACJ; and the formation of a taskforce to advocate for the enactment of the EAC’s SRH Bill.
“I am proud that organisations within the EAC can come together to discuss critical issues affecting the sub-region. This forum was the first of its kind and we hope that the CSOs present here will be challenged to start using the court more to advance human rights.” said Tabitha Saoyo, KELIN’s Deputy Executive Director.
To contribute to the discussions on this forum follow KELIN on our social media platforms:
Twitter: @KELINKenya using hashtag #EACJ #SRHR #breakingthebarriers
For more information contact:
Programme Officer Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights
Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)
4th Floor, Somak Building, Mombasa Road