Gwawr Thomas returns to chambers following her secondment to Onyango & Co. Advocates in Kampala, Uganda. Gwawr was attached to the firm’s public interest litigation department, which enjoys a formidable caseload of human rights and constitutional law matters and a particular reputation for its high profile work with Uganda’s LGBTI community.
Gwawr worked on a number of important constitutional petitions and public interest cases, including
- a claim seeking redress for the human rights violations suffered by the indigenous Batwa people, who were forcibly displaced from their ancestral forest lands in order to create the Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga national parks and the Echuya forest reserve;
- a petition challenging the constitutionality of the Anti Pornography Act 2014, the enactment of which led to widespread public undressing of women deemed to be inappropriately dressed;
- a claim arising from Uganda’s failure to execute the international arrest warrant outstanding against Omar Al-Bashir, when he was on Ugandan soil to attend the 2016 presidential inauguration;
- a class action brought on behalf of 98 women who were abducted from IDP camps and forced to become ‘wives’ to LRA commanders during the conflict in northern Uganda;
- a petition challenging the compatibility of provisions of the Public Order Management Act 2013 – giving the police wide powers to disperse public meetings – with the right to freedom of speech;
- a challenge to provisions within the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act 2014 which permit disclosure of HIV test results to third parties.
Together with colleagues at the firm, Gwawr was also tasked with conducting an independent investigation into the break in at Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)’s premises, during which a security guard was killed. HRAPF had challenged the legality of Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality Act 2014 before the East African Court of Justice.