Joe Oloka-Onyango

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Joe Oloka-Onyango (born 16 September 1960 in North London, England) is a Ugandan lawyer and academic.[1] He is Professor of Law and Director of the Makerere University Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) in Kampala, Uganda, as well as the former Dean of Makerere Law School.

Early life[edit]

He studied law at Makerere University and the Kampala Law Development Center, before earning a Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees at Harvard Law School. He is a scholar of human rights in the African context.Prof Oloka-Onyango is married to Sylvia Tamale Onyango. They have two sons; Kwame Sobukwe Ayepa and Samora Oketch Sanga. Oloka-Onyango practiced law from 1982 to 1985.


He served as a member of the UN Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, as UN Special Rapporteur on Globalization and Human Rights, as well as consultant to the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Health Organization. He also serve on the advisory or governing boards of non-profit human rights organizations in North America, Europe and Africa.

Oloka took lead on 5 May 2016 when he made the inaugural staff lecture at the School of Law, presenting a paper entitled ‘Enter the Dragon, Exit a Myth: The Contested Candidacy of John Patrick Amama Mbabazi.[2]

On 9th May 2016 along with 8 other law professors, Oloka applied to join an Amici Curiae, the first in Ugandan electoral history to join a Presidential petition for the highly contested 2016 general Election in Uganda, The nine lecturers included Oloka-Onyango, Sylvia Tamale, Christopher Mbazira, Ronald Naluwairo, Rose Nakayi, Busingye Kabumba, Daniel Ruhweza, Kakungulu Mayambala and Daniel Ngabirano. They had on March 9 applied to the Supreme Court seeking to be part of the petition. In a court ruling the judges said: “We are satisfied that the applicants raise relevant points of law and will benefit court in the hearing.”

“The Court is satisfied that the applicants are quite competent, experienced in the field of law and human rights," she said. According to justice Tibatemwa, public interest outweighs the concerns and the objections raised by the respondents in which they sought to block the admission of Makerere law dons.[3]

His most recent publications include Battling Over Human Rights, Twenty Essays on Law, Politics and Governance and When Courts do Politics.