2019 SGS Student Dinner Featuring Ugandan Human Rights Attorney Nicholas Opiyo
Please join us for an evening with Stanford Global Studies students and faculty from across our 14 centers and programs. This annual event will feature Nicholas Opiyo, a Ugandan lawyer, civil rights activist, and the founder of Chapter Four Uganda, a civil rights organization that provides research, advocacy, and outreach services to influence laws, policies, and practices in the interest of civil liberties and human rights.
Since 2005, Opiyo has worked on a broad range of cases, including a case to criminalize torture in Uganda. In 2014, alongside other activists, he successfully challenged the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act before the Uganda Constitutional Court. He represents many of his clients on a pro-bono basis.
Opiyo grew up in Gulu, a city in northern Uganda, during the height of Uganda’s conflict between the government and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. As a young child, his sister was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and did not escape until years after her capture. Moved by these experiences, Opiyo attended law school in Uganda in order to protect marginalized citizens through the judicial system. In the courtroom, he has defended social media activists, the LGBT community, and other activists critical of the Ugandan government, among others. In 2013, Opiyo founded Chapter Four Uganda, a non-profit organization that provides legal services in response to civil rights violations, and he is recognized in Uganda as one of the country’s leading civil rights activists through this work.
His dedication to defending human rights has earned him recognition all over the world. In 2017, he won the German Africa Prize for defending civil rights and political freedom in Uganda. In 2016, he received a Certificate of Honor from the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco. In 2015, he was awarded the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism by Human Rights Watch for his legal work and activism. He also received a Certificate of Recognition by the Senate of the State of California for his dedication to the defense of human rights and efforts to achieve equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
Opiyo received a LLB from Uganda Christian University in 2004 and a post-graduate diploma in legal practice from the Law Development Center in 2005.
He is also a visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies at Stanford University.
More information about Mr. Opiyo:
- Nicholas Opiyo on State and the Rule of Law (NBS TV Uganda YouTube Channel, May 2018)
- German Africa prize winner: ‘There are grave human rights violations in Uganda’ (DW, November 2017)
- Rights activists honored (Human Rights Watch, September 2016)
- Night commuter: Ugandan human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo says streets were ‘safer than home’ (News.com.au, May 2016)
- Uganda’s Least Equal Voters: The L.G.B.T.I. (The New York Times, February 2016)
- Ugandan human rights attorney Nicholas Opiyo finds best of America in Bay Area visit (The Mercury News, April 2015)
- Meet the attorney who got Uganda’s anti-gay law overturned (Vox, August 2014)
- Lawyer who led challenge of Uganda’s anti-gay law: ‘Long, long way to go’ (Time magazine, August 2014)
- Africa and U.S.: Invest in human rights (CNN, August 2014)