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CEHURD WIN: Court directs Education Ministry to develop sexuality education policy

By An Executive Editor

The High Court has directed the Ministry of Education & Sports to develop a comprehensive sexuality education policy within two years.

This is part of the orders in a ruling delivered by Justice Lydia Mugambe in a case filed four years ago by the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) against the Attorney General.

CEHURD was challenging the Ministry of Education and Sports’ ban on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), and their omission and delay to pass a policy on sexuality education as a violation of the right to access information contrary to Article 41 and the right to education contrary to article 30 and 34(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995. 

On the use of ‘Comprehensive’, Mugambe said “The inclusion or exclusion of the term ‘comprehensive’ is a simple matter of form that should never derail the substance of this process.”

Court averred that the Government’s inordinate delay and/or omission of over ten years to develop a comprehensive sexuality education policy in Uganda is a violation of Uganda’s obligations under international law and Articles 30, 41 and 34(2) of the Constitution; Sections 4 (1) (c), (g) and (i) of the Children (Amendment) Act 2016; and Section 4(1) & (2) of the Education (pre-primary, primary and post primary) Act.

As a result, the court also tasked the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Education and Sports to identify and work with a breadth of relevant stakeholders and address all issues competently while the Attorney General was ordered to compile and submit a report to Court every six months showing progress and implementation of the orders.

About the Case

On the 18th day of November 2016, The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) filed a case against the Attorney General, challenging the Ministry of Education and Sports’ ban on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), and their omission and delay to pass a policy on sexuality education as a violation of the right to access information contrary to Article 41 and the right to education contrary to article 30 and 34(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995. 

This case was premised on a resolution issued by the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda on 17th August 2016 directing the Ministry of Education and Sports to ban the teaching and training of CSE in Uganda. On 28th November 2016 the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development issued a press statement emphasizing to the public that the ban of CSE in Uganda was applicable in both school and non-school environments. This in effect halted the dissemination of all sexuality education in Uganda, leaving the population prey to unwanted pregnancies, STDs and STIs due to lack of information.

In May 2018, the Ministry of Education and Sports finalized and passed the National Sexuality Education Framework (NSEF) which has never been implemented and actualised, three years since its development.

Uganda, however, committed herself to formulating policies on comprehensive sexuality education in December 2013 under the Ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality on sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA).

What CEHURD says

CEHURD has welcomed the ruling saying “Through this judgment, Hon. Justice Mugambe upheld the fundamental human rights of all Ugandans to access health information on their sexuality.

Part of the text adopted from CEHURD website

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