Meet Rahom Maria Bukirwa from Uganda.
Rahom is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda. At the heart of her practice, Rahom is a social justice lawyer and a women’s rights activist. Currently, Rahom works as a Programme Manager at the Women’s Probono Initiative in Uganda. For Rahom, meaningful legal practice entails advancing human rights, especially the rights of women and children. Rahom joined the training programme so as to develop her skill set in advancing human rights through public interest litigation.
Rahom’s practicum placement is at her place of employment — Women’s Probono Initiative. For Rahom, this has been a fulfilling experience especially because of the practical application of the lessons taught during the residential training phase of the programme.
For her project, Rahom is challenging the decision of the parliament of Uganda on imposing tax on diapers under section 8(a) of the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act as unfair and irrational. In as much as the Parliament is mandated with making laws, this ought to conform to the principles of peace, order, development and good governance of the country. The case intends to highlight gender justice issues and injustices suffered by vulnerable groups when legislators refuse to take into account the principles of equity in taxation systems. A 2016 study conducted in six Sub Saharan African countries found that the prevalence of fistula ranged from 0.2% — 3.9% among women aged 15–49. In Uganda the prevalence was at 0.4% among women aged 15–49 who may need adult diapers. This is a small fraction of the vulnerable groups of people who use adult diapers as health products. This case is therefore seeking for a declaration that the decision by Parliament of the Republic of Uganda approving the imposition of tax on all kinds of diapers was irrational and unfair. Through filing this case, Rahom wishes to highlight the structural injustices that are usually overlooked by taxation regimes and legislators in decision making spaces. The contribution will be by way of jurisprudence that stirs conversation about economic justice for vulnerable groups especially women but also emphasizes checks and balances for legislators when arriving at decisions that affect the greater public.
Something not-so-secret about Rahom is her love for animals and their welfare. She currently has seven dogs!
“I raise up my voice — not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.” — Malala Yousafzai.
We wish Rahom the best of luck as she continues to amplify community voices.