Litigation as a tool for the realization of Economic, Social and Cultural rights
Mugisha M: CEHURD News, June 2014
In the world all over, litigation is being used as a mechanism for the realization of the economic, social and cultural. Though it is often the last resort after all advocacy methods have been rendered futile, its impact is far reaching than on can image. Litigation draws the government to the drawing board remembering the obligations in the international human rights instrument that it bonds itself for proper economic and social development. It definitely goes without say that by its self, litigation may not yield the desired result but if backed up by strong advocacy the results are far more reaching. Depending on what it is that you’re looking for, litigation will definitely enable you get there. When an advocate institutes a case, the ultimate goal is definitely to win. However with Economic, social and cultural rights, wining may not come easy. But even if a case is lost, does mean that the cause is lost? In my opinion, I think not. With an awful ruling handed down by the Constitutional Justices in CEHURD and others Vs. AG Constitutional Petition No.16 of 2012, the institution of this case has had profound effect on the health sector within the country. Taking into consideration the affected areas in question in the petition, the current state of affairs has shown that in deed the responsible parties are listening and doing the needful. The health facilities in the districts have been revamped and more health workers recruited. In addition, the health sector has become the focus of attention for the legislators who are pushing for reforms within the sector. Such reforms include an increase in the health budget and recruitment of health workers with increased pay at the health centre IV. It should be borne in mind greater number of challenges face this method particularly in jurisdictions where political and civic rights take centre stage. While it is a customary norm in international law that human rights are universal, interdepended and intertwined, economic, social and cultural rights have not attend the recognized the same status as the aforementioned rights making their implementation a challenge. However some courts have come up with unorthodox methods to bring about their enforcement inter alia the use of political and civic rights. One greater challenge that emerged from the ruling passed by the justices of the constitutional court in respect of petition 16 was the political question doctrine or simply stated the doctrine of separation of powers. Though addressed in jurisprudence from around the world, this conundrum if not properly addressed in the above matter on appeal may render the enforceability of economic, social and cultural rights a nightmare. However all is not lost. Even with the numerous posers that face this method, its use has proven more effective in diverse ways.