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Rights and Social Protection for Children: addressing inequality Presentation at Plan International/ ODI lecture series on Social Protection: Making Child.

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Presentation on theme: "Rights and Social Protection for Children: addressing inequality Presentation at Plan International/ ODI lecture series on Social Protection: Making Child."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rights and Social Protection for Children: addressing inequality Presentation at Plan International/ ODI lecture series on Social Protection: Making Child Poverty history? 22nd June Hon. Irene Ovonji-Odida, Uganda Association of Women Lawyers/ East African Legislative Assembly

2 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality2 Human Rights Entitlements: recognition of claims individuals & groups have Duty on states & other agents to respect, protect, fulfil Universality, equality, indivisibility of rights

3 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality3 Rights based approach Both outcomes and process of realization treated as rights Hence transparency, accountability International framework: International Bill of Rights, UN covenants National framework: 1995 Constitution of Uganda chapter 4, Acts of parliament, national policies

4 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality4 Human development approach Outcomes of social arrangements important Human needs: hierarchy of needs Challenge universal, equal? Globalization, neo-liberalism Power& unequal social relations

5 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality5 Ugandan context: Vulnerable groups women, children, the aged, the disabled, the poor, prisoners and refugees. New: people living with HIV/AIDs, IDPs in conflict areas like Northern and Eastern Uganda, workers Children: child-headed households, girl-child, street children, orphans, child workers

6 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality6 Poverty Poverty as defined by the poor Lack of access to basic needs and services such as food, clothing, bedding, shelter, health care, education and justice: Powerlessness (UPPAP 1) Social exclusion, poor governance, low community status or affluence, ignorance & lack of knowledge & awareness (UPPAP 2) Intersectionality of poverty and denial of basic human rights Effect of poverty and vulnerability is abuse of rights, exploitation & injustice Vulnerability negates access to justice

7 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality7 Govt interventions National Policy Framework: Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PRSP) Sectoral policies:Agriculture, Health, Population, Education, Gender etc Programs eg JLOS, UPE NB.Global policies & practice: trade, development aid, finance, security, environment, labor Poverty, vulnerability still persist

8 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality8 CSO work on access to justice Legal Aid service Administration of justice, gender/ poverty access to justice Legal, Civic & Human rights education Juvenile justice Promotion of accountability within government institutions involved in administration of justice (source: Justice Law and Order Sector Medium term Policy and Strategic plan for Civil Society Involvement in JLOS)

9 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality9 Example: Uganda Women Lawyers Association (FIDA Uganda) FIDA set up 1974 by women lawyers aim: empower women & children to claim their rights & access justice 1st legal aid clinic 1987, now 7 districts (including FIDA/PLAN project on PWLA). mobile clinics cover 13 more districts programs in Conflict Resolution (legal aid), Legal Education, Information & Documentation, Advocacy & Research.

10 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality FIDA/PLAN project on Access to justice for PLWA Now in 4 districts Focus: Rights + Needs of vulnerable people ie PLWAs Rights: Legal aid + education eg property rights, will writing Basic needs: health, education In community & family context

11 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality11 Childrens desk Child clients average 50% all cases Child focused activities part of other programs Activities: mediation, litigation, counseling, legal & rights education, media programs, research,& advocacy Links with other agencies (Govt/ LCs/ NGO/ schools), families & communities Child rights clubs in schools

12 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality12 Child rights clubs Aim: promote child-to-child learning 30 clubs in primary & secondary schools School authorities trained on human & childrens rights Use of written media, MDD, debates, child friendly materials/ games Challenges: finances, parental/ family involvement & message. Phased out 2004

13 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality13 Common cases in FIDA Within family Maintenance Inheritance (succession) Custody Matrimonial home sale Domestic violence Defilement Paternity Within community Land/Property disputes Unfair dismissal Debt/ rent recovery Sexual harassment Unfair dismissal Assault

14 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality14 Case study: Justine AIDs orphan aged 17 years parents died between 1999 & sisters aged between 20 & 10 years Legal guardian (paternal uncle) intermeddling in estate (pension, gratuity, real estate) & neglecting wards in good school, constant late fees payment, little other support, attempt by guardian to transfer to rural school, neglect Relatives fear/ unwilling to intervene, friends of father took up case with community leaders & Admin Gen office

15 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality15 Challenges to social protection Socio-cultural factors: social change: economics, HIV/AIDs, broken social network gender biases & beliefs, fears & discrimination concept of rights & justice: sociocultural/ legal, claim/priviledge Poverty: economic situation capacity issues (vulnerable groups, NGOs, Govt) Legal/ Governance factors: Low rights awareness & legal literacy low access to justice system institutional weakness (justice & other systems eg accountability)

16 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality16 Operational challenges for NGOs Clients - high expectations, fears High demand (eg FIDA avg. 50 clients per week) Financial & logistic constraints Physical distance to services Weak referral institutions (legal, administrative, social) Weak laws

17 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality17 Conclusions Factors are both structural and direct, macro & micro Individual & group vulnerability from factors arising from household, community, national & global level Effective interventions should be holistic, client-driven & empower the individual & community Rights based interventions make a difference, but not enough

18 I.Ovonji-Odida: Social Protection & Inequality18 Conclusions II Social variables (gender, age, race, ethnicity, class, health) influence status These are shaped by political & economic factors at local & global levels Effective change needs: understanding & transforming power relations, and empowerment of vulnerable individuals, groups and communities

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