Adaptation Domestic court Imminent risk Loss & damage Right to a healthy environment Right to health Right to life Right to property Uganda

Tsama William & 47 Ors v. Uganda


The case was initiated following multiple landslides that occurred in December 2019 in the Bududa district in Eastern Uganda, in an area that is prone to landslides, which the applicants allege were exacerbated by climate change. The applicants claim that the landslides resulted in their displacement from their homes, killed their relatives and destroyed their property and the environment.

The applicants brought the case against the Ugandan government, the environmental authority and the local government of Bududa before the High Court of Uganda seeking orders for protective measures and compensation.  


The applicants claim that the respondents have violated their positive obligations under statutory law to protect the applicants from recurrent landslides. They argue that the respondents’ failures to put in place an effective machinery for dealing with landslides and promptly warn the applicants about known risks, violated their fundamental rights to life, a clean and healthy environment, property, and physical and mental health. Aside from declaratory relief, the applicants claim a sum of 6.8 billion Ugandan Shillings as compensation for loss of life, destruction of property, physical and mental harm, as well as the cost of resettlement to safer areas.  The applicants further allege that the risk of future landslides owing to extreme weather events caused by climate change requires the respondents to take measures to relocate and resettle the applicants.  

This case is about adaptation to environmental risks (i.e. it is broader than climate adaptation), since the applicants principally rely on evidence that the problem of recurring landslides in the Bududa district has been going on since the beginning of the 20th century. However, the applicants rely on climate change as one among the factors contributing to the landslide risks they had previously faced and are likely to face in the future, as well as their vulnerability.  


The case documents are accessible via Climate Case Chart. For petition submitted by the applicants to the High Court of Uganda see here.

For replies by the respondents, see here and here.

Status of the case: The case is pending before the High Court of Uganda.

Last updated: 03 August 2023.