Meet Victoria Mufumba from Uganda.
Victoria Mufumba is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda. She works with Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Uganda) as a Strategic Interest Litigation Officer. In her line of work, she focuses mainly on human rights, women and children’s rights, gender, family and land law. Over the years, she has undertaken professional training in a number of areas relevant to her work including: ‘Women’s Rights in Africa’ by the Centre for Human Rights , ‘Discrimination and Violence against Women’ under the 1000 Voices Fellowship by Every Woman Coalition and the ‘Human Rights Training’ by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights — to name a few. Joining the training programme was thus well in line with her career progression goals as a changemaker in the human rights scene in Africa.
For the practicum, Victoria is hosted by FIDA-Uganda where she receives ample guidance to tackle the project that she is working on. Victoria is challenging mandatory pregnancy testing in health training institutions. Female students undertaking health related courses are subjected to mandatory pregnancy testing pursuant to Regulation 2.9 of the Health Training Institutions Rules and Regulations. The students who are found pregnant are subjected to a six months leave period and readmission to the course is conditioned to whether the student had reported the pregnancy voluntarily, with good disciplinary record and meets a satisfactory academic performance. Victoria contends that these actions contravene Articles 21 and 33 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, which prohibit gender discrimination and place a duty on the state to protect women and their rights, taking into account their unique status and natural maternal functions in society. In Victoria’s view, the Regulations fall short in protecting the female students right to education, privacy and bodily autonomy. Victoria argues that it is important that women’s rights are protected regardless of the competing priorities in their lives and that the said protection should meet standards set by international human rights instruments like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). These instruments prohibit any act or practice of discrimination against women including the exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex, and call for respect and promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights of women. Victoria hopes this case will add on to the jurisprudence that upholds the rights of women and improves the learning environment for female students in health training institutions in Uganda.
Victoria enjoys some good rhythm and likes to unwind by listening to music.
“Who run the world? Girls!” — Beyonce Knowles.
We wish Victoria much success as a changemaker in the human rights scene in Africa.