Justice Mugambe receives Vera Chirwa award

Lydia Mugambe

Ugandan lawyer and judge at the High Court, Lydia Mugambe, was Tuesday given the Vera Chirwa Award at the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights Graduation Ceremony on International Human Rights Day.

Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa [HRDA] Masters’ Alumni coordinator, Tọ̀míwá Ilọ̀rí, presented the Vera Chirwa Award to Judge Mugambe.

The Vera Chirwa Award was instituted in 2006 on the occasion of the Centre being awarded the UNESCO Prize.

The Vera Chirwa Prize is given to alumnus or alumna of the LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa who best embodied the principles of the programme in his or her subsequent career by “making a difference” to the protection of human rights or the strengthening of democratisation in Africa.

Mugambe receiving her award in Pretoria
Victoria University

To be considered for this award, subsequent to obtaining the degree (LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa), the candidate must have demonstrated:

Dedicated human rights activism; Leadership in the field of human rights and democratisation affecting Africa and Africans; a contribution to a specific human rights cause or causes; and commitment to improving the lives of people everywhere in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights is both an academic department and a non-governmental organisation, and works towards human rights education in Africa located in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative city.

About Lydia Mugambe

Lydia Mugambe was appointed to that court by president Yoweri Museveni, on 3 May 2013.

Background and education

She graduated from the Faculty of Law of Makerere University, Uganda’s largest and oldest public university, with a Bachelor of Laws.

The following year, she was awarded a Diploma in Legal Practice by the Law Development Centre, in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.

She also holds a Master of Laws from the University of Pretoria in South Africa.


Prior to her appointment to the High Court, Mugambe served as a Magistrate in Uganda’s lower courts.

Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa [HRDA] Masters’ Alumni coordinator, Tọ̀míwá Ilọ̀rí presented the award

She was appointed to the High Court of Uganda on 15 May 2013. She is assigned to the Civil Division of the court.

In January 2017, Justice Mugambe delivered a judgement against Mulago National Referral Hospital, which had been sued by Jennifer Musimenta and her husband Micheal Mubangaizi, for the disappearance of their newborn baby.

The judge found the hospital culpable of negligence. Mugambe also awarded the couple USh85 million (approximately US$24,000) in damages.

The ruling is hailed by legal observers and non-profit organisations in Uganda, as a watershed judgment, towards the recognition of “the rights of poor, vulnerable and marginalized women”.

The ruling was nominated for the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), award in 2017.



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