PSJ is known for its capacity to deliver on commitments. Implemented activities are of high quality and professionalism. This has attracted interest of additional donors, who have entered into partnership with PSJ’s activities. To ensure sustained impact, PSJ’s approach always has an advocacy component to change policy and remove systemic obstacles to women and girls’ economic self-reliance and governance. Both at national and regional levels, PSJ has ensured that policies are gender sensitive, creating long lasting impact on PSJ’s target groups.
Access to Justice Program
This is comprised of free legal aid services which includes free court representation, counseling and guidance to victims, lobbying and advocacy on issues affecting implementation of social justice systems in Uganda. The program aims at promoting justice for the poor and vulnerable groups, share best practices in the administration of justice and make effective use of the law to enhance human rights advocacy. The program provides free legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse, undertakes public interest litigation and legislative advocacy through regular hearing before appropriate parliamentary committees. This activity provides space for women who have suffered physical and psychological damage to share stories as a healing process
Capacity building Program
This program comprises of capacity enhancement and creating awareness on issues affecting social justice in rural communities. The program promotes citizen awareness of human rights values and obligations and builds capacity of grassroots associations to undertake human rights advocacy. Through this program, PSJ publishes training manuals, carries out human rights education, hosts radio talk shows and engages local governments on upholding state responsibility.
This year we have embarked on conducting training for less privileged women at the grass root level. Various community awareness sessions and mobile legal Aid clinics are ongoing in Northern Uganda where victims of civil conflict are only resettling, particularly in the districts of Apach and Dokolo. The just concluded session was held at Apach Women’s Development Center in Apach Town Council.
Research and Monitoring and Documentation
This program aims at documenting human rights practices in order to promote dialogue and respect for human rights and democratic development in Uganda. The program also aims at improving criminal justice policy and ensures zero tolerance for practices of torture and impunity in Uganda’s penal institutions. Police and Prison visits : Here under we identify those inmates who have overstayed on remand before appearing in court and prepare them for court. This entails interviewing, sensitization about rights like bail, food, communication to relatives and to large extent witness tracking. There are sessions that have been specifically organized for Uganda Police and Prison personnel to create awareness/refresher courses on rights of prisoners.
Research and documentation: we carry out extensive research into causes, nature and magnitude of conflicts and human rights violation and bring this to the attention of justice, law and order sectors for appropriate action and redress. Our next phase of action will involve serious focus on the documentation process.
Juvenile Justice program
This programs stems from the increasing number of juveniles we, find in adult prisons. Children should have a voice in Uganda and PSJ wants to be that voice. Uganda does have many children rules and regulations that excellently give protection to children on paper, however this is not often reflected in practice. It is for this reason that PSJ has partnered with the Uganda Judicial Service Commission to adopt best practices that have been successfully used in other jurisdictions.
Community Based Paralegal Advisory Services (CBPAS)
PSJ identifies rural respected individuals such as opinion leaders, local council leaders, women and men and gives them basic training on human rights and education on emerging issues in the district of operation. They are trained as watch dogs /ears to the ground for human rights abuse in the communities. These are then reported to the PSJ desk officer who sits at the local police station and are then handled accordingly. Currently PSJ has concluded trainings for community based paralegals in Northern Uganda, district of Dokolo and Apach district.
PSJ has also trained community based volunteers/paralegals to assist women and children to reports and register cases of sexual and gender based violence at Police and other designated places. PSJ has so far trained 200 volunteers who continuously report and create awareness on cases of sexual and gender based violence in Northern Uganda Region. These cases are later taken on by our Regional lawyers who are mandated to appear before courts of law.
The program provides opportunity to students and emerging human rights defenders to understudy PSJ programs in a climate that encourages research, exchange, fellowship and apprenticeship. We host about 10 interns annually from Universities in Uganda, USA, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Singapore, among others.
International Justice program
This program is largely in the field of criminal justice reform. PSJ partners with like minded criminal justice institutions that play on the international level. This way we are able to learn, share and adopt successful initiatives that aim at promoting speedy and fair access to justice especially for those most vulnerable. These initiatives are then introduced into Uganda by way of lobbying parliament, partnering with the judiciary, training and enlightening community awareness sessions to the grass root person.PSJ was very active in offering legal representation at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) based in Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa. This was through amicus curies arrangement in partnership with International criminal Defence Attorney Association (ICDAA) based in Canada.