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Chapter Four Uganda was formed in 2013 drawing inspiration from the works of other civil liberties organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union. It seeks to become a vocal and principled defender of constitutionally-guaranteed rights across a spectrum of issues without limitation based on ethnic, religious, or other group identity, political affiliation or sexual orientation.

A feasibility study conducted by eminent lawyers and civil society experts Ms. Ashanut Okille, Dr. Kabumba Busingye and Mr Dan Ngabirano concluded that although several initiatives have been undertaken to promote human rights in Uganda

“none of the organizations that are using a legal response has a specific remit on civic space rights, and yet political developments in the country seem to indicate that there is likely to be an increase in the use of legislation to regulate civic space rights for CSOs and individuals who hold views that are critical of Government positions and are not in [the] ‘public interest.’”

The study concluded that the creation of a coordinated and robust legal response mechanism would be important to ensure efficient and effective use of resources and capacities in the defense of civil liberties and civic space.

Chapter Four Uganda was thus formed to support human rights and pro-democracy activists in their efforts to promote open government, defend human rights, strengthen civil society and facilitate the free flow of information and ideas.

It is not intended to replace or compete with existing human rights protection initiatives, but host a robust and coordinated process of defending civil liberties.

The emphasis of the organization is on working with other organizations to create efficient use of human and other resources; creation of case and reference databases for use by all; and the creation of a civil liberties lawyers platform and data base.

In order to encourage many lawyers to take up public interest litigation and the defense of civil liberties, Chapter Four sets out to make the practice of civil liberties’ defense prestigious by offering skills trainings, facilitating exchange opportunities and providing a platform for civil liberties and public interest lawyers to congregate.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides a progressive bill of rights that encapsulates the provisions of regional and international human rights instruments and standards. These are contained in chapter four of the Constitution and it is from there that Chapter Four Uganda derives its name. It sets out to be a principled, bold and innovative civil liberties organization defending civil liberties and protecting human rights for all without any form of discrimination.

The Strategic Plan is intended to clarify and set the vision for Chapter Four’s work for the coming three years and provides an overview of the key milestones Chapter Four intends to meet within this timeframe.

It provides an external review as to what Chapter Four views as the key issues that need to be addressed in the next few years and why, and complements this analysis with a practical overview of how Chapter Four intends to tackle them. The Strategic Plan seeks to ensure that Chapter Four can continue to take advantage of its existing strengths, and grow stronger. It also outlines the strategies of the organization to address any institutional limitations or challenges.

A. Key strength

Chapter Four has grown from a little unknown and new organization into a credible and widely quoted organization on matters of civil liberties in Uganda.

B. Areas for Further Development

Chapter Four’s small size is a strength in that it enables efficiency, flexibility and a targeted focus. Its size also underscores its orientation of working in partnership with established, like-minded local and international organizations rather than duplicating or competing with such groups.

Nonetheless, the needs are very great. Targeted, incremental growth will help Chapter Four to accomplish more: it will help to ensure that it can direct resources to respond quickly and effectively to new political and legal contexts and situations where its expertise would add value. It would also help ensure that Chapter Four can adequately respond to new requests for assistance from victims, civil society groups and other stakeholders.

As Chapter Four’s work and reputation become better known, the number of requests for assistance, collaboration and mentoring will likewise continue to increase. As such, during the coming years, Chapter Four aims to grow incrementally as an organization, balancing increases in program staff with reinforcements in management and support roles.Chapter Four’s decision to work in collaboration with like-minded domestic organizations requires sufficient allocation of time and resources to ensure effective communication. Staff longevity helps to inculcate a clear and consistent face to the organization.

Chapter Four has successfully built up collaborative relationships with local, regional and international counterparts, through regular dialogue, visits and established partnerships and continues to increase these and other relationships. In the next three years

Chapter Four is committed to invigorating and extending its relationships with partners around the world, and to developing the means to ensure the long-term financial viability of these collaborations.