Uganda went through its first review by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in June 2015. Although the Ugandan government has taken measures to address certain human rights abuses, the country still faces a multitude of issues.
Saving and Credit Cooperatives, initiated to contribute to poverty alleviation strategies, remain unsupervised, leading to the exploitation and deception of the people they were meant to help.
Oil exploration, as is widely occurring in the Albertine region in Uganda, comes with risks that undermine the full enjoyment of rights by women. Since the majority of women do not own land, they are excluded from negotiations, which is used to petition against the sale of their families’ land to oil agencies. Furthermore, as they often do not hold the titles to their land, these women do not benefit from the financial transaction and are often left landless.
Primary education in Northern Uganda, far from national and regional capitals, is underfunded, resulting in overcrowded classrooms and the lack of basic scholastic materials.
Early and forced marriages are still prevalent throughout the country, though more so in rural areas, and are often linked to female genital mutilation. Females are only considered adults and ready for marriage after they have undergone this procedure, which typically occurs when girls are between the ages of 12 and 16.
Child labour affects more than 30% of children aged between 6-13, especially in communities where poverty is rampant, alongside domestic violence, the prevalence of orphan and single parent situations, child neglect, school drop-out rates, and lucrative economic activities that include sugar cane growing/harvesting, fishing, and charcoal burning.
Finally, while the number of birth registrations has improved over the past few years, in 2013 UNICEF reported that five million children under the age of five still remain unregistered in Uganda. The birth registration process remains complicated in the country, with high fees and difficult access for rural areas.
FI had the opportunity to raise these concerns to the Committee, both through a written report, and through an oral statement. The Committee included the issues of women’s involvement in the management of natural resources, the right to education, early and forced marriages, child labour and birth registration in its Concluding Observations. FI will now focus on Uganda’s response to these observations, and work towards the successful follow-up of the CESCR review process, so that the communities affected can move towards the full enjoyment of their most basic rights.
See FI’s Oral Statement here.
See the detailed report submitted by FI here.