Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
The Penal Code Act (Cap 120)
The Penal Code Act in Uganda specifies all offences and penalties that a person can be charged with. It covers offences relating to abduction of children, indecent assault of children, defilement, child-to-child sex, desertion of children, neglecting to provide food for children and child stealing.
The National Council for Children Act of 1996
As the long title suggests, the Act was put in place to create a structure for proper coordination of children affairs in the country. The Council is expected to develop and monitor policies relating to the welfare and protection of children.
The Prisons Act of 2006
Under Section 59 of the Prisons Act, a mother can be admitted into prison with an infant. If a female is either pregnant or breastfeeding, special facilities should be provided to her. The prison authorities are required to provide clothing and other necessities for the child. If a child attains the age of 18 months, the prison authorities can hand over the child to a relative of the prisoner if they are satisfied that the child will be taken care of effectively. If there is no relative who is willing to take care of the child, the Commissioner General of Prisons takes the child to the probation and welfare officer. It should be noted that under section 58(7), a juvenile is not supposed to be admitted in any prison with adults.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces Act 2005
During the bush war from 1981 to 1985, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) used infants in their ranks. These infants continued to serve as soldiers even after the war but were given education in the army schools until they were 18 years. Based on the Act, however, the use of children below the age of 18 years as soldiers is prohibited. Section 52(2) specifically states that no person shall be enrolled in the defence forces unless he/she is 18 years old and above.
Local Government Act, 1997 (Cap. 243)
According to the Act, every local government is required to have a secretary for the affairs of children. Local governments are supposed to consider the welfare of children as paramount and are required to pay particular attention to children with disabilities. The district councils or urban councils are further enjoined under the Second Schedule to protect properties of children and not to distribute them.
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