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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

Uganda signed and ratified the convention on the 17th day of August 1990. Since then, Uganda has been making periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child established under this convention. The last report submitted to the committee was on the 16th of August 2007. This report was considered by the committee at its 1369th meeting held on 3 October 2008. The committee noted the following positive aspects on Uganda:

  • (a) Putting in place the child orphans and other vulnerable children’s policy and action plan of 2004
  • (b) The establishment of Child Labour Unit in the Department of Labour at the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social affairs to address the worst forms of child labour
  • (c) The establishment of Children and Family Protection Units (CFPU) in police stations
  • (d) The collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights through the agreement, which established a national country office in Uganda in 2006

Nevertheless, the committee noted the lack of “a central database for registering violations of child rights”. It recommended that Uganda should “ensure that data relating to offences covered by the Protocol, are systematically collected and disaggregated inter alia by age, sex, minority group and geographic location and analysed, as they provide essential tools for measuring policy implementation” (UN 2008).

In addition, the committee also noted inadequate funding to the National Council for Children and the lack of a clear mandate. There was lack of “National Plan of Action in place to combat the violations of the Optional Protocol, in view of the high incidence of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography” (UN 2008). The Committee noted the lack of resources for criminal investigations, legal assistance and physical and psychological recovery measures for juvenile victims. The Committee recommended the allocation of resources “for coordination, prevention, promotion, protection, care, investigation and suppression of acts covered by the Optional Protocol, including by earmarking human and financial resources for the implementation of programmes relating to its provisions, and in particular for criminal investigations, legal assistance and physical and psychological recovery of victims to relevant authorities and civil society organisations” (UN 2008). The social reintegration and physical and psychosocial recovery measures for child victims are not mentioned. As noted ahead, these issues are still prevalent in Uganda. The next report was to be submitted in 2011, but there is no record to show that Uganda submitted a report. It is unclear if this reflects contempt of the committee.

Uganda has ratified other international/regional instruments that are essential for the rights of the child. These include the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (1990); the United Nations Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System (1997); the United Nations Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime (2005); the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child, OAU DOC. CAB/LEG/24. 9/49 (1990); and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

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