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.

Children and young people Domestic court Right to a healthy environment Uganda

Mbabazi and Others v. The Attorney General of Uganda and Others

This case was brought by a group of four young people, along with an NGO, alleging that the government of Uganda had breached its duty as a public trustee over natural resources because it had failed to uphold the right to a clean and healthy environment. The case was brought against the Attorney General of the Republic of Uganda and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). The plaintiffs brought their case under Articles 29, 50 and 237 of the Ugandan Constitution, along with sections 2, 3, 71 and 106 of the National Environment Act. They brought the case on their own behalf, as well as on behalf of “all children of Uganda born and unborn”, and in the public interest.

The plaintiffs argued that the Government of Uganda holds and maintains natural resources for and on behalf of Ugandan citizens under Article 237 of the domestic Constitution, and that it has a duty and obligation to maintain these resources and to ensure their sustainable use. It also has a duty to ensure the sustainable use of resources for present and future generations, including air, water and land. They describe the atmosphere as an ecological asset of the Ugandan people. They invoked Articles 39 and 237 of the domestic Constitution, which imposes a duty on the government to ensure that the atmosphere is free from pollution, and they also argued that the Government has a duty to ensure the integration of environmental concerns into overall national policy-making. The Government had failed to uphold citizens’ right to a clean and healthy environment, and to curb the present and future effects of climate change.

Date filed:

Case status:

Further reading:
The amended text of the complaint, as submitted in 2015, is available from

Suggested citation:
High Court of Uganda, Mbabazi and Others v. The Attorney General and National Environmental Management Authority, Civil Suit No. 283 of 2012

East African Court of Justice Tanzania Uganda

Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights et al. v. Tanzania, Uganda and the East African Community (EACOP case)

This case was filed on 6 November 2020 and is currently pending before the East African Court of Justice in Arusha. The applicant organizations brought proceedings against Tanzania and Uganda to stop the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), which would be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world, in these two States. They claimed that the respondent governments had signed agreements to build the pipeline even though the project is environmentally untenable and will traverse protected areas in East Africa. They also claimed that the affected people in both Uganda and Tanzania would suffer substantial and irreparable losses from the project, as well as damage to the environment. They submitted that the agreements in question were signed without the submission of an environmental and social impact assessment. As a result, the project had gone ahead despite undue regard to East African law, international environmental law and human rights law. They also made claims that the third respondent, the Secretary General of the East African Community, had failed to discharge his obligations under the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community concerning matters affecting the community.

Rights invoked:
The applicants invoked articles 2, 3, 4, 7 (1), 9, 13 (1), 14, 16, 21, 22, and 24 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. They also invoked articles 2, 14, 16, and 17 of the Revised African Convention on the Conservation of Natural Resources. Furthermore, they argued that the project was inconsistent with the respondents’ commitments under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.

Date of filing:

6 November 2020


Temporary injunction:

On 6 November 2020, the applicants applied for a temporary injunction restraining the respondents from constructing the pipeline until their case had been decided by the East African Court of Justice.

A hearing in this matter was held on 1 March 2022. The hearing was livestreamed. The Court’s First Instance Division then adjourned the issue pending its determination of the main case. 


The reference was, the applicants submit, filed within the statutory period of two months of the imputed actions and omissions of the respondent States. The respondents contested this, as well as the jurisdiction of the court to consider issues concerning human rights as well as arguing that the matter was not ripe for a hearing. On 5 April 2023, the East African Court of Justice heard arguments for and against these objections to the court’s jurisdiction. The Court reserved its judgment on this matter until it has heard the merits of the case.   



Separate opinions:

Measures taken as a result of the judgment:

Status of case:

A hearing in the case was held on 2 July 2021.

Suggested case citation:

East African Court of Justice, Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights et al. v. Tanzania, Uganda and the Secretary General of the East African Community, petition filed on 6 November 2020, Application No. 29 of 2020.


For the full application brought before the Court, click here (via

For a summary of the developments of April 2023, see here.

Last updated:

27 June 2023