Rights, Social Protection and Accountability

Programs of PLA

Rights, Social Protection and Accountability

PLA will use a multimedia approach to create awareness about the rights of vulnerable and marginalized workers and empower communities to support them. In order to support VMWs access to justice, legal aid services will be provided through direct service delivery; referral mechanisms; and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The above interventions will lead to responsive communities and strengthened systems and structures that support vulnerable and marginalized workers enjoy their rights. Through the Social Protection thematic area, PLA will support VMWs through the provision of livelihood support, skills development for children in vocational institutions; and improving access to and retention in formal education. In order to mitigate the effects of HIV&AIDS, livelihood support will be provided to PLA beneficiaries. Youth will be supported through skills development programmes to enable them to engage in gainful employment.

The resultant effects will be improved living conditions for vulnerable and marginalized workers.

Rationale: PLA will support vulnerable and marginalized workers access to redress mechanisms. Access to justice is defined as the ability of people to seek and obtain a remedy through formal or informal institutions of justice for grievances in compliance with human rights standards. Access to justice entails awareness of one’s rights and responsibilities, knowledge of avenues through which to get legal redress and duty bearers responsible, the guaranteed availability of these avenues, enforcement, equality before the law and financial and otherwise ability to get legal services.

An effective justice system must be accessible in all its parts. Without this, the system risks losing its relevance to, and the respect of, the community it serves. Accessibility is about more than ease of access to sandstone buildings or getting legal advice. It involves an appreciation and understanding of the needs of those who require the assistance of the legal system.

PLA will further provide free legal aid services through her legal aid clinics such as legal advice, representation during mediation, negotiation, and court representation in cases where mediation has failed. With the existence of the toll-free line, the client will be able to report, follow up their cases and receive on spot legal aid services at no cost. This will counteract the problem of lack of money to pay for the services of a lawyer and enable them to access justice. Educating target groups in the communities and promoting civic and political participation of VMWS will be carried out to address knowledge gaps in rights and where to report when abused. PLA will employ a multi-pronged approach that will include community awareness sessions by both PLA Legal personnel and the trained Human Rights Advocates; legal awareness using mobile technology such as the PLA SMS system, media campaigns such as the radio and TV talk shows. PLA will simplify and develop educative materials and develop illustrative visual aids labour and other related legislation and policies that impact on vulnerable and marginalised workers. In order to strengthen legislative engagement and influence policy reforms; PLA will further carry out action research for evidence-based policy advocacy on emerging investment – labour related issues. It will also build the capacity of local communities and other CSOs in policy analysis, research, advocacy and monitoring. This will aim at sensitizing vulnerable and marginalized workers and communities on existing laws and policies; identify policy review priorities and engage law and policymakers to address identified gaps. It will empower vulnerable and marginalized workers and communities through education, awareness creation and localization of legislation and policies. This will also involve aiding access to justice through community referral mechanisms using trained community volunteers, representation in courts of law,

strengthening community redress mechanisms e.g. LC courts, cultural institutions, citizenry participation and feedback mechanisms.

Occupational safety and health issues at the workplaces will also be addressed including environmental conservation through working with trade unions, Legal Aid Service Providers’ Network Labour Officers and Probation and welfare officers. There is limited awareness by VMWs on their rights and employers are in most cases not accountable for their actions related to rights abuse. In addition, there is inadequate

affirmative action to facilitate access to justice by the vulnerable groups including the poor, women, workers and children and the limited understanding of citizens` Rights and duties under the law and high levels of corruption which negatively affects access to justice by VMWs. PLA will undertake strategic litigation to set precedents and expose bad practices so as to bring about structural changes in barriers to justice for vulnerable and marginalised workers PLA will further develop analytical papers, policy briefs in line with the identified areas of action sharing them it with the Uganda Law Reforms, Parliament for consideration and educating the VMS on the same.

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Platform for Labour Action (PLA) is a National Civil Society Organization that was founded in the year 2000. PLA is focused on promoting and protecting the rights of vulnerable and marginalized workers through empowerment of communities and individuals in Uganda.

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