On September 7, 2023, eight international human rights and labor law experts* applied to appear before the Constitutional Court of Uganda in two cases concerning informally employed workers in the country. IHRC Clinical Instructor Aminta Ossom and Clinic partner WIEGO are two of the eight applicants seeking to appear before the Court. 

In September 2022, five workers’ organizations filed the two cases at issue, which concern street vendors and other informally employed workers in Uganda. In the first case, the petitioners argue that workers in the informal economy—including those who do not meet the standard definition of “employee” under current national law—should not be excluded from Ugandan labor legislation. This case was brought by Voices for Labour Limited, Platform for Vendors in Uganda (PLAVU), the Uganda Market and Allied Employees Union, and the Uganda Artisans and General Workers Union.  

In the second case, the petitioners seek the Court’s judgment on efforts to evict street vendors from Kampala in January 2022. The petitioners challenge the evictions as violating the constitutional rights of vendors. This case was brought by Voices for Labour Limited and PLAVU. 

Draft briefs attached to the amicus applications—which are now before the Court (available here and here)—incorporate past Clinic research on the informal economy and human rights. As amici, the applicants seek to share relevant provisions under international labor law, international human rights law, and regional law from the African human rights system. They also hope to highlight instances from other countries where similar legal questions arose.  

*Co-applicants include: The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA); the International Commission of Jurists; the International Lawyers Assisting Workers (ILAW) Network; Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA); StreetNet International; and Dr. Andrew Gilbert Were, an expert on urban planning and informality from Makerere University.