The John Sentamu Institute For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

The faculty of law of Uganda Christian University (UCU) seeks to promote respect for human rights and humanitarian law through academic education, research and dissemination of information, in partnership with other organizations involved in similar work.

The establishment of the John Sentamu Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the faculty is aimed at increasing the number of students studying disciplines in, and related to human rights and humanitarian law. It is also focused on raising awareness of both the students and the target community in these specific fields. 

The objective of the Institute is to establish and operationalize a center of excellence promoting awareness for human rights and respect for humanitarian law through influencing law and policy decisions in Uganda and the region.

Why the name John Sentamu?

The institute is named after Archbishop John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom. He is a distinguished Ugandan Lawyer who embodies the aspirations of the institution. He served in the Ugandan Judiciary as a judicial officer in the 1970s and maintained a critical stance towards the injustices and human rights violations perpetrated by the regime of the late president of Uganda Idi Amin.

He had to flee the country for his life due to the precarious nature of these engagements to England where he was later ordained for service in the Church of England and he rose to the helm of the Anglican Church.

The continual thrust and audibility of John Sentamu on issues of human rights and advocacy for justice on the African continent and elsewhere, exemplifies the kind of lawyers the Institute hopes to train. His leadership, both in the Courts of Law and in the Church, for justice, and respect for human rights defines the fundamental aspirations of the institute.

Academic Education

The Institute, as an academic department in the Faculty of law will conduct:

  1. Formal academic programmes such as the LLM and Diploma in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
  2. Short courses on human rights and humanitarian law presented by local and international experts including academics and practitioners.
  3. Continuous Legal Education for legal practitioners.
  4. Clinical legal education in human rights and humanitarian law. This will include equipping the faculty students for community awareness projects.
  5. Moot courts on human rights and humanitarian issues.


The Institute will promote research on human rights and humanitarian law by establishing a research library containing works on international public law and other relevant subjects. Furthermore, the Institute will also initiate, develop and support research and scholarly publication in human rights and humanitarian law. Various initiatives are being undertaken to obtain and sustain periodical research grants to this effect.

Dissemination of information.

The Institute will promote human rights and humanitarian law by raising awareness including conducting public lectures, advancing teaching, conferences, workshops and media programmes to discuss contemporary issues. The ultimate objective of these awareness initiatives is to contribute towards an improved policy and legal framework.

Dissemination initiatives will also focus on maintaining robust community outreach activities, particularly by the students, to foster the awareness and adherence to human rights principles in the immediate wider society.

Conclusively, it is intended that the faculty of law, through the Institute can curve out a niche as a regional center of expertise and research as regards matters of conflict, justice and human rights; particularly in light of the nature of the Great Lakes Region.

It is hoped that the faculty will have greater visibility through the Institute and make it more relevant to the local and wider community.

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