Pro Bono Expert at Avocats Sans Frontières

General Overview of Avocats Sans Frontières

ASF is an independent international non-governmental organization founded in Belgium in 1992, whose mission is to contribute to the establishment of institutions and mechanisms that allow for access to independent and impartial justice, and which are capable of guaranteeing the protection of fundamental rights (civil and political, economic and social), including the right to fair trial.

For more than 20 years, ASF has been implementing programs with the aim to facilitating access to justice for the most vulnerable population in fragile states or transition contexts, including: Burundi, Nepal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Myanmar, Uganda, Chad, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Timor Leste and in Israel and Palestine.

ASF’s strategy rests primarily on:

1) The affirmation of law as a vehicle of change (protection and development); and
2) The promotion of the social role of the lawyer as an agent of change (lawyers are both guaranteeing legal security, and access to human rights via the access to justice and a quality defence).

ASF places lawyers, bar associations and other civil society organisations promoting human rights at the core of this strategy.  ASF's intervention strategy includes recognizing access to justice as a fundamental right and an indispensable precondition for realizing and defending other human rights; and building advocates and lawyers' capacity to realise the above objectives: ensure access to justice and support human rights realisation.

ASF’s experience in Uganda

ASF Mission in Uganda has for the past seven years nurtured the legal and technical expertise.  Bearing in mind the need for coordination and strengthening of local initiatives, ASF creates partnerships with national and international organisations sharing the same concern for support of the most vulnerable people in communities.  ASF also participates in carrying out key research studies aimed at highlighting the major issues arising in its thematic areas.

Terms of Reference


Uganda’s oil was first discovered in 1938, but it is in recent years that oil production has truly come into sight.  Although full-scale production is not expected to start until 2016 - 2017, oil is already central in the country’s long term planning agenda, as well as a prominent political issue.  From 2006, there have been a number of development processes undertaken by government, with support from development partners and civil society organizations; which have resulted in the passing of legislation in the last two years.  On the ground, government has secured the required 29Km2 of land needed for the proposed construction of an oil refinery; through the implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) which has facilitated the compensation and resettlement processes for communities in Buseruka subcounty.  

While progress is being made, there are a number of human rights risks and challenges that are being paused, and need concerted efforts to address.  These issues were mainly regarding compensation for land that government was acquiring for oil exploration and production activities.  Specifically these issues touched on a wide range of human rights including the right to property; the right to information; rights of vulnerable people like women, widows, the elderly and children; land rights, the right to a clean and healthy environment; labor rights; freedom of movement; the right to participation; the right to self-determination; the right to food; the right to education; the right to water; and freedom of expression; among others.

In recognition of the fact that the interface between human rights and extractive industries is a very new development in Uganda, it is necessary to equipping judicial officers with the requisite knowledge on the international human rights standards relating to business and human rights.

Objective of the trainings

Overall objective
To provide the necessary platform for the much needed judicial activism in striking the balance between protecting human rights and national development.

Specific objectives
To equip judicial officers with the requisite knowledge on the international human rights standards relating to business and human rights.

Expected Results
• Selected judicial officers understand the “promote, protect, fulfill” framework under the UN Principles on Business and Human Rights.
• Incorporation of international standards in the policy and practice of the judiciary when handling oil and gas cases.

Target Audience
The target audience is selected Judicial Officers identified by the Judicial Studies Institute.

Program and structure of the activity
The 2 day workshop for judicial officers will be divided as follows:

Day 1):

  • Introductory training on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Background, key elements and implications.
  • Human rights and business tools.
  • Identifying key business and human rights challenges and opportunities.
  • Adjudicating business and human rights cases. 

Day 2):

  • Preventing and addressing adverse human rights impacts in the extractive industries: challenges, opportunities.
  • Enhancing access to judicial remedy for corporate involvement in human rights impacts.
  • Non-judicial remedy on how to ensure access to remedy through operational level grievance mechanisms.

Coaching: The workshop will include group sessions to strengthen the capacities of judicial actors.  These sessions will focus on concrete exercises and practical discussions related to the presentation of case studies.  The facilitator will have the responsibility to present the details of a complex case as well as prepare practical exercises that will aim to provide the legal actors with a better understanding and a practical knowledge of the legal aspects of the business and human rights’ thematic.

Trainings: The proposed content and agenda of the training will have to be communicated by the trainer at least one week prior the training.  All sessions will be participative and based on the concrete needs and experiences of judicial actors.  The use of practical cases, structured debates and role-playing games is highly recommended.

Conditions of the mission
- The ILN member is committed for the 2 days of stay in the country of intervention excluding transit and preparation time.
- ASF will cover the following costs: flights tickets, visa fees, airport transfers in Uganda upon arrival and return, transport from and returning to the ILN member’s
place of residence, accommodation and other fees related to the accomplishment of the mission.
- A per diem will be attributed to the ILN member.
- The ILN member will be covered by repatriation insurance. 

The ILN Lawyer should commit to:
- Perform the intervention while respecting elementary principles of good behaviour, vigilance, and caution whilst abroad;
- Fully comply with any instruction given by ASF in relation to the ILN member’s personal safety, the safety of other participants, or the safety of ASF’s personnel.
- Not undertake any action contrary to the reasonable progress of the intervention and especially the ILN member shall not act in the intervention country in a capacity other than in pursuance of the proposed mission.
- Avail training materials to ASF and the participants for continued learning and mentoring.

Job title: Pro Bono Expert for a coaching/training of judicial officers in business & human rights

Location: Uganda

Contract: 2 days pro bono, 23 - 24 March 2015

Closing date: 5 February 2015