UHRC assesses Uganda’s legislation against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child commitments, to make Uganda a better place for children

17 July 2018
primary education in Uganda
UNICEF Uganda/2018/Nakibuuka

KAMPALA – Tuesday 17 July, 2018 – The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and UNICEF will unveil an assessment of how Uganda is implementing and performing against its commitments made since the ratification of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990, through its legislation.

The findings from the assessment of 37 statutes of the CRC, are aimed at providing solutions to the various challenges that still remain in realizing the rights of children in Uganda, who make up more than half of the population (57 per cent), and in particular to guide the relevant legislative reforms.

Uganda ratified the CRC in 1990 without reservations, as well as two Optional Protocols on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the involvement of children in armed conflict, demonstrating its commitment towards protecting the rights of children. The Convention also makes clear that basic quality of life should be the right of all children, rather than a privilege enjoyed by a few.

Today, Uganda is a better place for children to live and thrive than it was many years ago. There is much to celebrate in terms of developments in the area of child rights in Uganda, including declines in maternal mortality to rising school enrolment, and the adoption of the Children Amendment Act. 

However, despite the strides made in improving the well-being of children in the country, more efforts are still required to ensure that all children enjoy their rights. The daily reality for millions of children across the country is still in sharp contrast to Uganda’s commitments under the CRC: many children still live in poverty; face major threats to survival; lack opportunities for quality education; lack adequate health and social care; many are victims of various forms of violence - they are forced into early marriages and have to endure harmful traditional practices.

“The report launched today is important because it is a comprehensive assessment and it presents recommendations about what more needs to be done across Uganda to continue to progressively fulfill the rights of all children”, said Dr. Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF Representative in Uganda.

The study reveals that some legislation was compatible with the CRC including legislation related to nationality; child protection; alternative care; juvenile justice; crimes against children; and the treatment of child victims in Uganda. However, other legislation has gaps and does not comply with some of the standards in the CRC and other international and regional human rights treaties. 

In his call to ensure that stakeholders put the report to use, Mr. Med Kaggwa, the Chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission stated, “It is our wish that all the government agencies to whom recommendations have been made take action accordingly so that Uganda’s legislation can enhance the respect for human rights, particularly the protection of the rights of children.”

The standards and principles to promote and protect child rights can only become a reality when they are respected by everyone within the family, in schools, communities, and other institutions that provide services to children.

The report analyses the compatibility of 37 statutes with Uganda’s obligations under the CRC and related treaties and makes recommendations in the areas indicated below:

1. The right to identity
2. Child protection
3. Alternative care
4. Juvenile justice
5. Crimes against children
6. The rights and treatment of child victims of crime
7. The right to health
8. The right to education
9. The rights of children with disabilities
10. Marriage, divorce and property

Download report


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About Uganda Human Rights Commission

The Commission was established under Article 51(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. The decision to establish a permanent body to monitor the human rights situation in the country was in recognition of Uganda’s violent and turbulent history that had been characterized by arbitrary arrests, detention without trial, torture and brutal repression with impunity on the part of security organs during the pre and post-independence era. The Constitution of Uganda and the Uganda Human Rights Act of 1997 provide the legal mandate, functions and the powers of the Commission. For more information on UHRC, visit http://www.uhrc.ug