Its less than 3 weeks to go until International Human Rights Day and our annual Christmas Fundraising Gala!
On the 10th of December 2014 we celebrate International Human Rights Day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed December 10th as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on that date 2 years earlier.
To tie in with these celebrations we are holding our second annual Fundraising Gala on the 10th of December! We are bringing together our friends and supporters for a night of celebration and entertainment, all the while thinking about what we can do as a global community, to improve the access to human rights of all of our world’s people, and in particular, those incarcerated in prisons in Africa.
We are hosting the Gala at the beautiful Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, in their Great Hall. Guests will enjoy a festive reception, delicious dinner, as well as stunning entertainment and a live auction with many one of a kind prizes. Each guest will go home with a gift bag containing some fantastic, ethically sourced gifts donated by some wonderful companies, and having experienced dynamic and heart warming entertainment. Read more…
Our Kenyan APP Ambassadors for Penal Reform have gone home to East Africa, and taken enthusiasm for the facilitation of change… and our hearts with them!
After a protracted weekend of celebrations, the African Prisons Project team said their reluctant farewells to our prized ambassadors for penal reform. Antony, Dennis, Beverline and Jacob were ready to challenge themselves, always open to new experiences and keen to absorb any learning that would equip them with the tools they need to stand at the frontline in the fight to improve the prison system in Kenya.
In the last week of prison tours the fellows started off by visiting HM Prison Send to look at the management of female prisoners. A meeting with David Charity, the prison’s governor, gave the fellows a real insight into the challenges of working with vulnerable women prisoners, and the difference between managing male and female offenders. The atmosphere was much more relaxed than that of other prisons they had visited; small ponds set in oriental gardens were dotted around the residential facilities, greenhouses and farm land are kept for the women’s horticulture and farming programmes, and there is even an apiary producing delicious tasting honey – which the prison officer leading the tour highly recommended! Read more…
Into the third week of their secondment programme, the Kenyan Professional Fellows had become masters of England’s transport systems. With an intensely busy schedule, a different prison to visit every day and social events to get to in the evenings with generous friends of APP, the greatest challenge has been getting to the right place at the right time.
The term ‘African Time’ had long since been a running joke between APP staff and secondees. What had once been a nightmarish venture onto the dreaded tube became a perfectly ordinary daily commute as most Londoners experience it… although their destinations were perhaps not so ordinary. Read more…
APP Promotes Mental and Physical Health of Prisoners at Murchison Bay Prison through Sports.
Nestled in one of the lush green outskirts of Kampala overlooking one of Kampala’s inland ports lies Murchison Bay Prison; a home to over 1000 male inmates. On an ordinary day, prisoners will be seen carrying out their assigned tasks in an orderly manner and going about their daily business with purpose and determination. However, 9th October 2014, was no ordinary day. It is Uganda’s Day of Independence. Although this day has a lot of national significance, it will be remembered in a special way, by the inmates in this prison; because the 2014 Independence Cup celebrations were held in the premises.
Throughout the day; loud noises and claps could be heard as inmates and guests participated in a number of activities. The modest sports facilities would not dull the enthusiasm of the inmates as they boisterously participated in football matches, between four determined teams; athletics, sack races, ball juggling interlaced with entertainment from an inspirational musical group. Read more …..
The Wheels of Justice… and Healthcare
Odong (not real name) was an inmate at Oyam Main Prison in Oyam district. An unfortunate attack by a crocodile had led to the amputation of both legs. Odong for one reason or another found himself in conflict with the law and had wound up in prison.
Prisons in Uganda are faced with challenges in transport and Oyam prison is no exception. The prison did not have any form of transport to enable Odong get to court from the prison where he was on remand. This responsibility fell on the backs on his peers. Literally, each time Odong had to make an appearance in court, one of his peers would carry him to the court: On their back. Odong is not alone. His plight is not only shared by other prisoners with disabilities like him, but also by inmates who fall ill and need medical care in health centres outside of prison. The prison authorities particularly in those prisons out of Kampala grapple with the challenge of transporting such inmates to health centres and courts; etc.
The Government and the prison authorities are much aware of the difficulties highlighted above and have through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) strategy shown an equal measure of progressiveness in extending the hand of cooperation to civil society to try and help fill gaps in service delivery. Read more …..
APP University of London Law Scholars in the News.
On Tuesday 7th October, the Australian National TV channel, ABC TV, (Australian’s version of the BBC) screened a half hour programme ‘inside story’ on Kamiti Prison in Kenya, and the work of the prisoners there serving as paralegals and taking on the Kenyan justice system to overcome wrongful convictions. Inmates self-representing have resulted in an estimated 3500 successful self-defences in the past 10 years. Wilson Harling Kinyua, a prisoner and APP University of London University law degree scholar took centre stage during the programme. Wilson is one of several APP supported students to make international news. Peter Ouku was featured on the BBC in the recent past and also runs a clinic to support other inmates. Peter Ouku is pursuing an LLb with the University of London. Watch video …..
APP also recently celebrated the inaugural first diploma graduands from Uganda and Kenya. APP continues to support smart and driven students as they pursue diplomas and degrees in law. We believe that prisoners, when paired with skills and education, can have a direct and lasting impact on their own lives and those around them. The ability of our students to act as paralegals in nations where lawyers are rarely available to the poor is just one example of APP’s successful leadership programme.
After a busy weekend visiting London’s attractions and spending an afternoon at the British Museum with APP supporter, Sandra Worthington, APP’s secondees from the Kenya Prison Service entered into the action of the second week with gusto. The week was kick started by meetings with Peter Melleney and the Prison and Probation Ombudsman. Conversations with Kate Eves, Assistant Ombudsman, Fatal Incidents, and Michael Dunkley, Serious Complaints Investigations, at the Prison and Probation Ombudsman’s offices allowed the secondees to reflect upon Kenya’s recently established Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ), also known as the Office of the Ombudsman. Later on, Peter Melleney, barrister at Charter Chambers practising predominantly in regulatory, criminal and public law, gave the fellows an expert’s insight into his field, and built on the knowledge already garnered in their first week. We were glad to hear that, following the meeting, Peter went on to write a blog piece for his chambers about APP’s programme! Read more…
Last week, Beverline Lungatso, Antony Asige Mugomati, Dennis Kipruto Mungo and Jacob Mbogo Gachuhi arrived in the UK on a long eight hour flight from Nairobi, Kenya. They are four prison officers working in the Kenyan Prison Service, selected by APP to come to the UK for six weeks and complete a Professional Fellowship award funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. APP identified these passionate individuals as committed to working for penal reform and making improvements to the criminal justice system, once they complete the award and return home. The programme we have put together will contribute towards APP’s larger Leadership Development work, which aims to develop the skills and capacity of senior prison staff so that they can facilitate change in their local situations.
Having landed at Heathrow at 6 in the morning on Sunday, they quickly found their feet and jumped head first into the programme. Apart from navigating through London’s notoriously challenging tube system, the first week was spent orienting themselves in Legal London, and meeting with legal and prisons professionals. This included a visit to the Old Bailey and shadowing barristers in court. Read more…..
Three inmates at Uganda’s maximum security prison and one former inmate presented with Diploma in Common Law at Uganda’s Maximum Security Prison.
The three inmates are the first ever inmates to receive qualifications in law in Ugandan prisons
On Tuesday 19th August, three inmates at Uganda’s maximum security prison and one former inmate under the APP Scholarship Programme were presented with their Diploma in the Common Law by the University of London. This was during a convocation ceremony, the first of its kind in Ugandan prisons, held at Luzira Maximum security prison in Kampala. The three inmates are the first ever inmates to receive qualifications in law in Ugandan prisons.
The ceremony was attended by the Principal Judge, Justice Yorakamu Bamwine as the chief guest and the Commissioner General of the Uganda Prisons Service, Dr. Johnson Byabashaija who was also accompanied by other dignitaries from the Uganda Prisons Service. They joined the African Prisons Project and the University of London in celebrating this milestone with the students and their families. Read more…..
William, with the support of APP, is pursuing a Degree in Law, under the University of London Long Distance Programme. He started during his incarceration in prison. He was released from prison after he successfully appealed the military court decision which had wrongly convicted him. He hopes to become a legal advisor or prosecutor.
In 2007, William* was arrested under Uganda’s Military Law and sentenced to five years in prison. When this happened, William believed that his life was over. “This is the end of the world now. I thought this is the end of me.” Instead, his experience in prison has transformed his life for the better. Read more…..
My name is Rokan Jeffers Iranya. This is my story. I was the sixth child in a family of 12. I attended much of my education in my home town. This season of my life went by pretty much without any significant hiccups. At the end of my formal education, I qualified as a Grade 3 primary school teacher.
I was involved in formal teaching for a while until I was recruited by an international field based organization in Southern Sudan. Life was really good at that time. I was free, could sustain myself and meet the needs of my family. Without any warning, I was arrested, charged and sent to prison, while visiting my family in Uganda. Finding myself behind prison walls was one of the toughest experiences that I have had to go through. Read more…..