United Nations


International Human Rights Instruments

Distr.: General

11 May 2015

Original: English

Common core document forming part of the reports of States parties

Uganda *

[Date received: 1 April 2015]


Paragraphs Page

I.General factual and statistical information about Uganda1–424

A.Population of Uganda2–54

B.Migration trends6–115

C.Economic, social and cultural situation12–427

II.Legal and political structure of the State43–4914

III.General framework for protection of human rights50–5316

IV.National framework for protection of human rights54–5918

V.Non-discrimination, equality and effective remedies60–6220


Status of Ratification of other Human Rights Instruments22

I.General factual and statistical information about Uganda

1.Uganda is a landlocked country lying on the equator in the east/central part of the African Continent. Uganda shares boundaries with South Sudan in the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, Rwanda in the South-west, the United Republic of Tanzania in the South and Kenya in the east. Twenty percent of the country is covered by inland lakes and the rest ranges through rain forests to savannah with mountain ranges on the Western and Eastern boundaries. The climate in Uganda is tropical with two rainy seasons in the year for most parts of the country (March–June and August–November seasons).

A.Population of Uganda

2.Uganda’s population has grown significantly over the last 20 years. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics National Population and Housing Census 2014 Provisional Results, Uganda’s population had increased from 24.2 million people in 2002 to an estimated 34.8 million in 2014.This number is expected to reach 35.8 million people in 2015. The population has thus grown at a rate of 3.03% annually from 2002 to 2014.This in turn has led to a growth in population density from 123 persons per square kilometre in 2002 to 174 persons per square kilometre in 2014.The female population is approximately 52% of the population. The sex ratio, the number of males per 100 females, is 94.5. This ratio has slightly decreased from the 2002 and 1991 results where the number of males per 100 females was 95.3 and 96.5 respectively.It is important to note that 24.8 million people in Uganda live in rural areas and only 6.4 million people live in urban centres with 1.5 million of them living in the Capital City, Kampala.

3.While the Census 2014 Provisional Results do not provide information on the age structure of Uganda’s population, an estimate is provided by the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2011 as applied on the projected population of 2015. The 2011 estimates indicate that:

•The population under 5 years of age was estimated to be 6.6 million (19%);

•The population aged between 6 and 12 years was estimated at 8.2 million (23.7%); and;

•The population aged between 10 and 24 years old was estimated to be 11.2 million, making up the majority of the population (32.4%). This means that over 75% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 25 years. Below age 18 years was 56.7%.

4.Table 1 below further illustrates the age composition of the population.

Table 1Projected population of Uganda by age group, 2015

Age (Years)

2002 Census




Percent of the population

Estimated Births in 2015


10 – 14






15 – 24






3 – 5






6 – 12






13 – 19






15 – 49










18 – 30






60 & a bove






Source : National Population and Housing Census 2014 Provisional Results, 17.

5.The results show an evident trend that the population under 18 years of age forms the majority of the population. The most recent demographic indicators on births (2011) put the crude birth rate at 42.1; the total fertility rate slightly reducing to 6.2 children per woman in 2014 compared to 6.7 in 2006; and the sex ratio at birth at 103. On the other hand, the proportion of older persons (60 and above), has slightly decreased from 4.6% in 2002 to 4.2% in 2014 though the dependency ratio has increased from 110 in 2002 to 124 in 2014 due to the large youthful population. The number of households is estimated to be about 7.3 million with an average household size of about 4.7 persons. About 30% of the households are headed by women.

B.Migration trends

6.Uganda has experienced all types of migration whose patterns have been a mosaic of voluntary and forced migration as well as involving internal and international movements.This ismainly due to its location in a greatly volatile Great Lakes Region on the African Continent. Voluntary internal migration has been mainly characterised by rural-urban migration and to a certain extent rural-rural migration from the traditional sector (subsistence agriculture) to resource-endowed rural areas where there is commercial farming, mining, nomadic pastoralism and more recently the exploration of oil and gas resources in the Albertine Region.Other internal movements have been occasioned by protracted situations leading to forced internal displacements due to insecurity, for example, in northern Ugandaand the Karamoja regionand to ecological and natural disasters (for example in the Buduuda area in Mbale district in eastern Uganda). Movements from other countries into Uganda have mainly been by refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, among others and migrant workers who come seeking employment. Similarly, Ugandans have been going to other countries in search of employment opportunities.

7.Migrant workers and members of their families who voluntarily come into or leave Uganda for purposes of engaging in remunerated activities/employment include those who come in or leave the country lawfully and those who are irregular but came to or left the country in search of work/remunerated activities. It is clearly known that well-managed migration has the potential to yield significant benefits to origin and destination States. For instance labour migration has played an important role in filling labour needs in agriculture, construction, health and other sectors, thus contributing to economic development of many destination countries in Africa. Conversely, the beneficial feed-back effects of migration such as remittances, knowledge and skills transfers, and return migration have in some cases made major contributions to economies of origin countries.

8.Uganda hosts migrant workers mainly from the neighbouring countries of Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, though in the past decade Uganda has witnessed an influx of migrant workers from Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Korea, Indonesia and China). There has also been an increase in the outflows of Ugandans as well. The majority of Ugandans emigrated starting in the early 1970s, during the political turmoil that beset the country following the assumption of political power by Idi Amin’s military regime. This group of Ugandan emigrants of the 1970s included those of Asian origin that were hastily expelled in 1972. Over the years, other Ugandans have emigrated due to various reasons, though mainly seeking economic opportunities. A most recent phenomenon has been formalised externalisation of labour. As of December 2014, 30 external employment recruitment agencies had been licensed and over 46,175 Ugandans formally recruited and deployed abroad, mainly in the Middle East (Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, 2015).

9.Tourism is another form of migration which opens up the country to nationals of other countries to come into the country to visit various tourist sites. According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics Statistical Report, Uganda recorded a total of 1.5 million arrivals and 1.4 million departures giving a net movement (arrivals less departures) of 159,000 in 2011. Resident arrivals increased by 57% in 2011.

10.Uganda has had its share of both opportunities (for example, in terms of the remittances from Ugandans working abroad) and challenges (indicated below) as a consequence of migration. From an economic perspective, the Government is contending with a delicate balance between initiatives for attracting foreign direct investment and skilled foreign workers without compromising the local employment market and business opportunities for citizens. Uganda also has limited skilled labour required in certain sectors like the oil and gas, some fields in health, and advanced technology, and therefore requires skilled migrant labour to fill the gaps.

11.Urban migration has led to significant increase in the urban population over time from 600,000 in 1969 to 3 million in 2002. Between 2002 and 2014, the urban population is estimated to have doubled to over 6 million. This growth has been due to both natural population increase and reclassification of some hitherto rural areas which increased urban centres from 75 in 2002 to 194 in 2014, and expansion of geographical areas of some existing ones. The removal of the head tax (poll tax) for male workers in 2000 enabled more male workers to have access to urban centres as this used to be an inhibiting factor for movement from rural to urban areas. Many people today are also sending their children from their areas of origin to access better education in urban based schools and many of the children settle and seek for numerated work within the urban areas. The unemployed youth have flocked to urban and semi-urban centres in search of job opportunities, some of whom have sold real property like their interest in land to come to the city to engage in petty businesses including working as motor cyclists for carrying passengers (boda boda riders) or as owners of a fleet of boda bodas.

C.Economic, social and cultural situation

12.Economic s tatus: Uganda’s overarching goal is to become a modern and prosperous country by the middle of the century, as reflected in Uganda’s Vision 2040. This goal is to be realised through the implementation of six successive 5-year National Development Plans – the first of which was launched in April 2010. Uganda’s Vision 2040 and National Development Plan (2010/11–2014/15) were formulated against a backdrop of significant socio-economic progress particularly in the period of relative peace and security since 1986. Additionally Ugandans aspire for balanced development which promotes equal opportunities and enjoyment of human rights by both women and men and all persons who are within Uganda’s territory in accordance with the law. Mainstreaming gender, disability and human rights has been at the core of the development planning processes in Uganda and the aim is to attain the aspirations articulated in Vision 2040 and various policy frameworks and sector strategic investment plans designed within the framework of Uganda’s overall development vision.

13.The government of Uganda since 1986 has pursued several economic and governance reforms that have seen: the restoration of macroeconomic stability and confidence in thenational economy; improvement in service delivery through a decentralised system of government; constitutional reforms which have led to improved functioning of institutions under the three arms of Government – the legislature, executive and the judiciary; the restoration of political pluralism since 2005; and the restoration of peace and security across the country, including in the northern and eastern Uganda which was badly affected by civil wars and insecurity due to cattle rustling, respectively, between 1986 and 2005.

14.Government’s priorities in the last five years are articulated in the first National Development Plan (NDP I) (2010/11–2014/15) – the first of the six NDPs that are to facilitate the achievement of goals of Uganda’s Vision 2040. The focus has been on maintaining national security and defence; developing physical and institutional infrastructure; enhancing agricultural production and value addition; building a competitive workforce; and furthering regional integration within the context of the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

15.Prior to the adoption of the NDP I, Uganda had implemented the Poverty Eradication Action Plan which was first adopted in 1997 as a comprehensive National Development Planning Framework that guided policy actions to eradicate poverty. The Poverty Eradication Action Plan was adopted partly to facilitate the implementation of the newly promulgated Constitution of Uganda of 1995. That Plan underwent three revisions in 2000 and 2004 and 2007. The long term strategic objectives of the Plan included; reducing income poverty and inequality, improving human development and increasing gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Gender mainstreaming was one of the cross-cutting issues of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan.

16.There are however a number of bottlenecks constraining the rate of socio-economic transformation, including: underdeveloped human resources; inadequate physical infrastructure; an underdeveloped private sector; and low production and productivity in agriculture. It is against this backdrop that the second National Development Plan (NDP II) (2015/2016–2019/2020) is being developed and the prioritized growth opportunities and development fundamentals have been narrowed down to only three and two respectively to increase impact and create faster growth momentum.

17.The prioritized growth opportunities and development fundamentals include Agriculture; Tourism; Minerals, Oil and Gas, Infrastructure and Human Capital Development. NDP II emphasizes prioritization of interventions through a value chain analysis; a Spatial Framework; alignment of sector/government ministries, departments and agencies/local government priorities and budgets with NDP II priorities; appropriate financing modalities for the priority interventions; spatial analysis and planning to achieve synergies; and addressing the challenges of weak public sector systems among others.

18.According to Uganda’s Millennium Development Goals Report (2013) Uganda’s real GDP growth averaged 7% per year between the year 2000 and 2012, implying an increase in national income by a factor of 2.25. However, the last five years witnessed slower growth and in the financial year 2012/2013 Uganda’s economic growth rate was at 5.04%. The contribution to GDP by the key sectors of the economy, namely: agriculture, forestry and fishing; industry; and services, has been changing over the years, reflecting the changing structure of the economy.

19.Structural changes of the economy: The contribution of the agricultural sector to total GDP has declined from 32% in 1990 to 15% in 2012. Conversely, agricultural value added has expanded less than 2% per year on average since 2000 – significantly below the rate of population growth. Between 2009/10 and 2012/2013, there was a 2.4% decline in monthly household expenditure. 46% of the household expenditure was on food, beverages and tobacco. Though the proportion of the poor population reduced from 24.5% to 19.6% corresponding to about 6.7 million people and this brought the average of inequality down from 0.426 to 0.395 the quality of life for majority of Ugandans has not significantly improved and this is mainly due to the continued low performance of the agricultural sector.

20.The modest performance of the agricultural sector is attributed to drought in some years, outbreak of diseases, poor quality inputs, high transport costs, declining soil fertility, subsistence farming practices, and land conflicts, have all combined to partly contribute to rising domestic food prices in recent years, thereby adversely impacting household purchasing power. On the other hand, there has been strong growth in the industrial and services sectors which is associated with rising incomes that allow households to spend more on non-agricultural products.

21.Structural change is increasingly evident in the sectoral and occupational composition of the labour force. Although most of the population is engaged in agricultural activities, only 42% of households rely on subsistence agriculture as their most important source of earnings, while private non-agricultural wage employment has been growing at around 12% per year, the second highest rate of any African economy, only behind Ghana. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP was estimated to be only 20.9% in 2014 despite this sector employing the majority of the labour force.

22.Economic growth is increasingly driven by the construction and the services sectors – particularly telecommunications, real estate and financial services. These are high productivity activities that rely on a relatively small number of skilled workers, and thus do not generate significant employment opportunities. Employment in formal manufacturing has expanded but remains relatively low. The majority of new jobs have been created in low productivity sub-sectors, such as retail trade and hospitality. While strong macroeconomic management since the 1990s has ensured relatively rapid and inclusive growth, the productive base of the economy remains underdeveloped. Growing domestic and regional demand for some of the products locally produced and the significant improvements in financial sector development represent large opportunities for further growth and job creation. This is partly the reason for NDP II to be focused on addressing the binding supply-side constraints – most notably the need for increased investments in physical infrastructure for transport and energy.

23.Other factors which have kept Uganda’s economy in a vulnerable position include: adverse and unpredictable weather, which mainly affects agricultural production; limited development financing options; reliance on a narrow range of low-value added activities and non-renewable natural resources; an inadequate energy supply; and changes in the international environment particularly notable, is the continued weak demand in advanced economies that has led to a slowdown in Uganda’s exports.

24.Health s tatus:According to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey (2011), the prevalence of underweight children under 5 years of age is 12.7% female and 14.9% male, with a total of 13.8%. The infant mortality rate is 54 deaths per 1,000 live birth and the maternal mortality ratio is 438 per 1,000 live births. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has had great impact on the population and the disease burden remains unacceptably high. Prevalence among the people aged 15 to 49 years stands at 7.3% and disparities in prevalence among women and men have persisted with that of women being higher at 8.3% compared to 6.1% of men. There is also an increase among adolescents indicating 0.3–1.7% for boys within the age range of 15 to 19 years and 2.6–3% for girls.

25.Nearly a quarter (24%) of young women aged 15–19 years had already begun childbearing (Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2011). Though modern contraceptive use had increased from 18% in 2006 to 26% in 2011, it is still too low to cause significant reductions in fertility levels. Nevertheless, the unmet need for family planning slightly decreased from 38% in 2006 to 34% as of 2011. Allocation of funds to the health sector shows an average increase of 20% per annum in absolute terms over the past four years of the implementation of the Health Sector Strategic Investment Plan (HSSIP). However, the allocation to health as percentage of the total Government budget has reduced from 9.6% in 2003/2004 (Annual Health Sector Performance Report, 2013/14) to 8.6% in 2014/15 of the total Government budget much lower than the Abuja Declaration target of 15%. This decline has taken place in the midst of rising health care demand and costs due to high population growth. As a consequence, the health care financing is largely dependent on financing from the households (43%), donors (34%) and only 23% comes from Government and employers (NHA, 2013). The high dependence on financing by households reduces access and utilization of health services while high dependence on donor funding affects the sustainability of health financing and service provision in Uganda.

26.Another important aspect to consider in relation to this Report is the fact that Uganda’s health sector is under-staffed. Though the proportion of filled vacancies has increased from 56% in 2009/10 (MTR, 2013) to 68% (Human Resources Health Sector Audit, 2014) there remains significant disparities in staffing between rural and urban settings; and across districts particularly for midwives and doctors. However, it is a laudable achievement that the population living within 5 kilometres of a health facility is currently at 72%.

27.Education s tatus: The Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education schemes initiated in 1997 and 2007 respectively have contributed to increasing access to education for both boys and girls and contributing to reduction of gender disparities in enrolment and completion rates for boys and girls. The net attendance ratio in primary education was at 81% for females and 81.1% for males with a total of 81.0 in 2013. 59.4% of women had received some or completed primary education while the same was found for 60.2% of men. In the five years preceding the Health Survey (2011), the percentage of women with at least some secondary education increased by 30% and by 18% for males. 27.7% of women had received some or completed secondary education while the same was found for 35.6% of men.

28.The growth of enrolment has increased demand on delivery inputs particularly classrooms, teachers, instructional materials and teacher’s houses. All these deficiencies are opportunities for employment for Uganda’s youthful population who could be engaged in construction projects for school building and teachers’ houses and reproducing educational materials. The Secondary Education allocation as a percentage of the education sector budget has declined from 37% in the financial year 2009/10 to 28.8% in the financial year 2013/14 despite the increased demand for secondary education. There is also limited participation of the private sector in rural areas in the provision of secondary education as the number of sub-counties without any form of secondary school continued to increase due to having more administrative units curved out of existing districts and sub-counties. As a result of these persistent challenges declining or low learning achievements/competencies have been noted as well as lower completion rates, particularly for girls, who join secondary education.

29.However, it is important to note that the percentage of Ugandans accessing higher/tertiary education has also increased over the years due to increase in the number of public and private universities and establishment of new and expansion of existing vocational training institutions. Uganda is on the move to enhance skills development and the quality of her human capital. With such a huge youth population efforts are underway to ensure that the majority are educated and adequately skilled so that they become more of job creators than seekers. Curricular reviews at all levels have been done to ensure relevance, and many more courses are on offer in order to match the education delivered to the knowledge and skills needed in the labour markets in Uganda, the region and internationally. The literacy rate among the youth in the age range of 15–24 year was at 75.2% for females, and 77.1% for males with a total of 76.1.

30.The number of students enrolled in Uganda’s tertiary education level, regardless of age, as a percentage of the population of official school age (for the tertiary level) however, has remained low and was a mere 5.4% in 2010. This was far below the Sub-Saharan average of 6% and the world average of 26% and the preferred 40% needed for economic take off. Therefore, Uganda is in need of more university and college spaces to enroll more students. Despite the increased enrolment in university education, student enrolment in science and technology programs at both private and public universities is still low (at about 37%) which is below the minimum requirement of 40% of students registering in Science and Technology (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

31.Public funding to higher education remains at 0.3% of GDP which is below the recommended share of at least 1%. Therefore, the resources provided do not match the demand as the numbers of students are increasing by an annual average of over 10%. The low staff level at public universities which stands on average at 33% of the establishments definitely lowers the quality of service delivery.

32.Employment status: The Uganda National Health Survey 2012/13 indicated that the total labour force in Uganda had slightly increased to 16.3 million persons. The 2014 Uganda Bureau of Statistics Statistical Abstract indicated that 49.1% of males form the working population while 50.9% is female. The sector with the most working people is agriculture, with 71% of the working population currently employed in subsistence agriculture (majority being women), and limited agro-processing. 47.4% of the working population is in paid employment, with the majority of the working force, 52.6%, in self-employment. The proportion of the labour force that is self-employed rose from 70.9% in 2009/10 to 81.5%. Of those who are self-employed, 73% were engaged in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, followed by 9% in trade and 5% in manufacturing, with a higher proportion of females than males.

33.About 6 million (43%) working persons were in subsistence production in 2014 with a higher proportion for females (49%) than males (37%). The proportion of the labour force in paid employment fell from 21.5% in 2009/10 to only 18.5% in 2012/13. In 2012/13, 15% of the labour force had no formal education. The labour force growth rate was estimated at 4.7% per annum in 2012/13. The huge increase in the size of the population aged 15 and above is explained by the population momentum generated by the persistence of high fertility.

34.Un/underemployment remains high. The rate of unemployment was standing at 8.8% for males and 11% for females and the total at 10%. The highest rates of unemployment are in regions with low population and low economic activity including parts of the central region and Karamoja (north-eastern Uganda), as well as in the northern corridor (the Acholi and Lango region). However, the highest numbers of unemployed are in the urban areas around the northern corridor. Labour markets abroad provide employment opportunities for Ugandans in the short run as the country develops its capacity to generate sufficient jobs for its labour force.

35.Government initiated, the Youth Livelihood Programme, in the financial year 2013/14 as one of her interventions in response to the high unemployment rate and poverty among the youth. The development objective of the Programme is to empower the youth to harness their socio-economic potential and increase self-employment opportunities and income levels. The Programme provides support in form of revolving funds for skills development projects and income generating activities initiated by youth groups. The first phase of the Programme in the financial year 2013/14 covered 27 districts. The Programme was scaled up in the financial year 2014/15 to cover the rest of the country in the second phase. A total of 32,374 youths (44% are female) accessed support under the Programme and are presently engaged in self-employment in various vocational trades and income generating activities as follows: agriculture (53%), trade (21%), vocational trades (9%), small-scale industry (8%), services (8%) and information and communications technology (1%).

36.The United Nations estimated that 628,845 Ugandans lived and worked outside Uganda in 2013, of which 53% were women. Migrant workers’ remittances into the economy were estimated at US$ 1,392 million in the financial year 2012/13 which represented a significant increase of 215.5% from US$ 646 million in the financial year 2011/12. The remittances account for 4.0% of the country’s GDP. In addition to the remittances, the migrants have acquired new skills, methods of work, and experience.

Table 2Status in employment and industry of the working population

Sector of Working Population

Total ( % )

Agriculture, forestry and fishing








Wholesale and retail trade: repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles




Transport, storage and communications


Hotels and restaurants






Source : Uganda National Household Surveys 2002/03, 2005/06, 2009/10 and 2012/13, Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

37.Poverty levels: Significant progress is noticeable in addressing poverty and vulnerability in Uganda The national poverty rate has declined from 56% in 1992 to 19.7% in 2012/13. However as a result of the high population growth rate, the absolute number of people living below the poverty line has not reduced significantly. To date, over 6.7 million people remain poor and an additional 43% of the population is highly vulnerable to falling into poverty. Additionally, there remain significant poverty disparities across regions, social groups as well as between rural and urban areas. In addition, risk and social vulnerabilities are on the increase and are generally associated with demographic characteristics such as age, sex, disabilities and covariate risks such as unemployment, access to social security, poor working conditions, poverty and disasters.

38.Child vulnerability: 8.1 million of Uganda’s children live under conditions of serious deprivation or danger. Children who experience abuse, violence or are exploited, abandoned, or severely neglected (in or out of families) also face significant threats to their survival and well-being as well as profound life cycle risks that have an impact on human, social, and economic development. While there has been a significant reduction in the proportions of vulnerable children over the years, the number of Uganda’s children who are vulnerable to deprivation, abuse, violence and other challenging circumstances remains persistently high. Unfortunately, poorer families seem to have more children due to a combination of factors including limited access to family planning information and services and a general desire and cultural beliefs in the prestige of having a big family size.

39.Overall, 38% of the children aged 0–17 years are vulnerable totalling 6.4  children according to the Uganda National Health Survey Report 2009/2010. It is estimated that 8% of children in Uganda are critically vulnerable, 43% are moderately vulnerable while 55% of children below the age of 5 years are affected by child poverty. Karamoja and West Nile have the highest percentage of children experiencing multiple child poverty (68%). Currently, 2.43m children are orphans, over 1.7m children below 14 years are engaged in child labour (with 95.5% in agriculture), over 2.1m children live with older persons and 22,500 children fall victims of defilement offences annually. Some of the reasons that expose children to vulnerabilities include malnutrition, HIV and AIDS, orphan hood, child abuse, neglect, violence, and limited family and community capacity.

40.Indicators on c rime and the a dministration of j ustice:Serious crime is on the rise in Uganda. Between 2012 and 2013, there was a drastic increase in serious crime (homicide, aggravated robbery, defilement, murder, rape, burglary, child kidnapping and child trafficking) by 16%. This has consequently led to an increase in the incarceration rate from 94 prisoners per 100,000 people in 2010 to 109 prisoners per 100,000 in 2013. The prison population increased by 12.5%; with 56% of the prisoners were on remand. Unfortunately this has led to increased overcrowding in prisons and thus there were three prisoners in the space for one prisoner in 2013. The Western region reported the highest number of deaths in prison with 33%.

41.There was an increase in the number of prosecutions in 2013 as compared to 2012 despite of having fewer crimes reported. While the number of reported cases decreased from 254,000 in 2012 to 251,000 in 2013, the number of prosecuted cases increased from 48,000 to 51,000.

42.However, an area which remains challenging is rampant breach of contracts, unsafe working conditions and sexual harassment, accidents and work related injuries. On average 2,000 cases of work related accidents are reported annually. Few employers provide a safe and healthy working environment for decent work. There is inadequate awareness and sensitization on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards, limited personnel and logistics and enforcement of legislation has rather been slow. In addition, occupational diseases are also on the increase. These incidences contribute to low productivity, disabilities and loss of life. In Uganda, accidents are common in construction sites, factories, security and transport sectors and commercial agricultural sub sector.

II.Legal and political structure of the State

43.The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 is the supreme law of Uganda.It provides for a multi-party democracy in which an elected President is vested with executive power. To balance power and allow for checks the executive arm of government is complemented by a constitutionally established legislature and judiciary as the other two arms of government. The executive is further composed of a cabinet of ministers appointed by the President with approval of parliament. State ministers who are also vetted by Parliament assist in the executive functions of determining, formulating and implementing the policies of Government. Uganda is divided up in 111 districts and Kampala, the Capital City which is administered as an administrative unit as well. The districts are divided up in 1,382 sub-counties which form the first level of the local government structure with a council that plans and allocates money for government programs. At the lower level we have local councils I and II with elected leaders who assist with popularizing government programs and mobilizing the people to engage in their governance and development processes.

44.Uganda promulgated a new Constitution in 1995 under which the last four general elections (presidential, parliamentary and local government elections) were held, the last two held in 2006 and 2011 being organized under the multi-party system of government which was adopted through the constitutional amendments of 2005. The legislature is made up of members of parliament directly elected by the people and, or, elected/appointed as representatives of special interest groups including women, persons with disabilities, workers, the youth and the military. Parliament is tasked with making laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda. Parliament also reviews government policy proposals, appropriates national resources to annual sector plans and programmes, oversees the actions of the executive on behalf of the people and reviews all proposals for appointments made by the President. The Constitution additionally provides for a leader of opposition representatives in parliament to further the multi-party form of democracy in Uganda. The term of Parliament is five years.

45.The judicial power of Uganda is exercised by the courts of judicature with the following hierarchy: the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal that also serves as the Constitutional Court, the High Court which has five divisions (civil, criminal, land, commercial, family), and the Industrial Court which was elevated to the High Court level, and it is presided over by High Court judges. The Industrial court handles labour disputes. There are also Magistrates Courts (Chief Magistrate courts, Grade I Magistrate courts and a few Grade II Magistrate courts.

46.Uganda has a dual legal system as customary laws are applicable in Uganda and are enforced alongside the coded laws in the Volumes of laws of Uganda. The Constitution secures the right of every person to practice their culture and promote their customary values in as far as they are aligned with the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land (Articles 32 and 33 of the Constitution). Acts of law recognizing customary values have thus been promulgated. These include the Land Act, 1998, Cap 227 as amended in 2004 and 2010 which recognizes some aspects of customary land ownership as a form of land tenure in as far as the customs and practices do not deprive anyone of their right to own and have access to land. The Customary Marriage (Registration) Act, 1973 recognizes marriages contracted in conformity to customary practices in different parts of the country.

47.Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are recognized and duly regulated by the Non-Governmental Organisations Registration Act Cap 113, 1989 as amended in 2006. The Act governs the registration, management and governance of NGOs. Regulation of NGOs is further provided by the Non-Governmental Organisations Registration Regulations, 2009. NGOs operate freely in any part of the country once they are duly registered. They are required to furnish the NGO Board with annual returns and reports and to apply for renewal of their registration periodically. There are also community groups which operate at community level as citizens’ self-organizing structures to mobilize savings and credit for members, provide peer support in good and challenging times, enable members to access information, training and advise for their income generating activities and organize collective actions to improve their homes and communities.

48.The media industry (commonly referred to as the fourth state) is also very active in Uganda. By 2011 Uganda had about 25 television stations and over 130 radio stations with varying outreach or coverage in different parts of the country. However, the whole country has coverage and it is much easier today (compared to 10 years ago) to transmit information to different groups of listeners. There are several telephone networks and these have revolutionalized communication and networking across the country. The introduction of mobile phones has made it possible to quicken communication and the use of the internet (through use of phones and computers) have made it possible to connect all parts of the country and improve data collection, transmission and storage within different government ministries, departments and agencies. The use of mobile money has enable people operating in rural areas who are un-banked to have access to financial services. For example the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development administers and remits the Elderly Persons’ Fund to the intended beneficiaries through use of mobile money networks. This considerably reduces the transactional costs of the Fund.

49.The trade union movement in Uganda is vibrant and well organized. The Constitution guarantees economic rights (Article 40), which include among others the right of every worker to form or join a trade union of his or her choice for the promotion and protection of his or her economic and social interests, and to collective bargaining and representation – Article 40 (3) (a) and (b). There are two labour centres: National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) and Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COFTU) The Secretariats work with labour unions and community groups in all districts of Uganda. Unions have made life better for workers in Uganda by advocating for improvement of wages and working conditions, helping to formulate laws and labour policies, fighting child labour, establishing mechanisms for solving labour-management disputes and protecting workers′ safety and health. Migrant workers are free to join a union of their choice.

III.General framework for protection of human rights

50.Uganda is a party to all the core international human rights treaties, securing universally recognized rights for its citizens and inhabitants. Table 3 below provides the details on the status or ratification of the core international human rights instruments.

Table 3Status of ratification of the core human rights instruments






Entry into Force

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

21 Jan . 1987

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

21 Jun . 1995

Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

14 Nov . 1995

Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty

Not signed

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

21 Nov. 1980

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

30 Jul. 1980

22 Jul. 1985

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Not signed

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

3 Nov. 1986

Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Not signed

Convention on the Rights of the Child

17 Aug. 1990

17 Aug. 1990

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

6 May 2002

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography

21 Jun. 2001

Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

14 Nov. 1995

51.Reservations and d eclarations: Uganda has made reservations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. The reservation to the Covenant is in relation to Article 5, stating that Uganda “does not accept the competence of the Human Rights Committee to consider a communication under the provisions of article 5 paragraph 2 from an individual if the matter in question has already been considered under another procedure of international investigation or settlement.” The declaration to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict states as follows:

“The Government of the Republic of Uganda declares that the minimum age for the recruitment of persons into the armed forces is by law set at eighteen (18) years. Recruitment is entirely and squarely voluntary and is carried out with the full informed consent of the persons being recruited. There is no conscription in Uganda.”

52.The Government also made a reservation to Article 18 (3) (d) of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. “The Republic of Uganda cannot guarantee at all times to provide free legal assistance in accordance with the provisions of Article 18 paragraph 3(d).”

53.Ratification of other i nternational and regional instruments: Uganda is also a party to other international and regional conventions relevant to human rights and humanitarian law. The table in the annex provides the details. Uganda made a reservation to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Article 14 on Sexual and Reproductive Health.Uganda’s reservations are on two provisions: women’s right to control their fertility; and authorization of abortion in specific circumstances.

IV.National framework for protection of human rights

54.The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 is considered to be one of the most progressive Constitutions in Africa. The Constitution was adopted after a five years period of widespread consultations with the people on how best they would like to be governed. For the first time the Constitution included a Preamble that captures the history of the country and the aspirations of the people which include the desire to uphold, protect and fulfill the rights of every person in Uganda irrespective of their status, origin or sex among other differences. Chapter Four of the Constitution which is commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights has several Articles (20 to 45) that specifically entrench specific rights and freedoms that are protected and promoted and are guaranteed for every person within the in the territory of Uganda, including migrant workers, subject only to the restrictions provided by law. The rights guaranteed include the following:

Rights in the Bill of Rights

•Article 21: equality and freedom from discrimination;

•Article 22: protection of the right to life;

•Article 23: protection of personal liberty;

•Article 24: respect for human dignity and protection from inhuman treatment;

•Article 25: protection from slavery, servitude and forced labour;

•Article 26: protection from deprivation of property;

•Article 27: right to privacy of person, home and other property;

•Article 28: right to a fair hearing;

•Article 29: freedom of conscience, expression, movement, religion; assembly and association;

•Article 30: right to education;

•Article 39: right to a clean and healthy environment;

•Article 40: protection of economic rights;

•Article 41: right of access to information;

•Article 42: right to just and fair treatment in administrative decisions;

•Article 59: right to vote and contest for any elective office in line with the set requirements;

•Article 45: rights not expressly mentioned are acknowledged.

55.Importantly, the Constitution establishes an independent Human Rights Commission tasked with carrying out investigations, research, monitoring, documentation, education and promotion of the country’s human rights situation. The Commission handles only violations that happen after the coming into force of the 1995 Constitution. Upon violation of human rights, the Commission has the power, among others to sanction, to order legal remedy or redress through its annual human rights reporting and the decisions of its tribunal, which can be appealed against in the High Court. The Commission may review a case of a detained or restricted person and order the release of that person and for the payment of compensation for wrongful detention, or uphold the grounds for the restriction or detention.Additionally, the Commission has the responsibility of establishing a continuing programme of research, education and information to enhance respect of human rights in Uganda.

56.International human rights treaties are applicable within Uganda’s jurisdiction through domestication (by enacting legislation through the Parliament of Uganda). The provisions of human rights instruments can also be invoked by courts, tribunals and other administrative authorities provided they are raised in relation to acts that are within the national laws of Uganda and do not conflict with the Constitution. They may thus be limited if prejudicial to public interest.

57.The Constitution secures affirmative action in favour of marginalized groups and advances the rights of women and children thus addressing their particular situations. Rights of persons with disabilities and minority groups are also protected by the Constitution. These rights are expanded on by other laws enacted by Parliament further delegating duties and responsibilities to various bodies.

58.Uganda ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the 16th of February 2001. It therefore, accepts jurisdiction of the Court. It however, has not entered the declaration allowing NGOs or individuals to file complaints and cases before this Court. Uganda additionally complies with its state reporting obligations as per the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and has no reports pending.

59.In addition, over the last twenty years Parliament has adopted a number of laws that are progressive in terms of facilitating the implementation of the constitutional provisions relating to human rights. The challenge is that there are still some discriminatory laws that are on the statute books and despite years of research, lobbying and advocacy in addition to a number of court cases that have declared some of these provisions unlawful, reforms are still on-going. Such laws include marriage related laws and those relating to property rights and inheritance rights. Provisions on affirmative action have not been fully implemented to ensure more equitable access to appointments to positions of leadership and decision making and by taking measures to remove barriers that hinder equality of opportunities between men and women in all spheres of life. In addition several local governments at district and sub-county levels have adopted ordinances intended to support the protection and promotion of human rights, for example by compelling all persons responsible to have children of school going age enrolled in school and to ensure regular attendance and provision of their needs.

V.Non-discrimination, equality and effective remedies

60.Equality is a norm informing the National objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy. The prohibition against discrimination and the right to equality are enshrined in the Constitution in Article 21. The article protects the right to equality and freedom from discrimination as follows:

Article 21

(1)All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.

(2)Without prejudice to clause (1) of this Article, a person shall not be discriminated against on the ground of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.

(3)For purposes of this article, “discrimination” means to give different treatment to different persons attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability.

(4)Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from enacting laws for:

(a)Implementing policies and programmes aimed at redressing social, economic, educational or other imbalance in society; or

(b)Making such provision as is required or authorized to be made under this Constitution; or

(c)Providing for any matter acceptable and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

(5)Nothing shall be taken to be inconsistent with this article which is allowed to be done under any provision of this Constitution.”

61.Equality is therefore, a principle that is firmly entrenched in the Constitution and the laws of Uganda and as such, it allows for the full and equal enjoyment of human rights without any form of discrimination. Upon an infringement of a human right, the courts of law including the specialized courts like the Industrial Court, which handles labour disputes, and other constitutional bodies like the Uganda Human Rights Commission and its tribunal are available to adjudicate on any matters brought before these mechanisms. In addition all these mechanisms have a duty to provide information to the public about the law, their functions and mandates and the complaints procedures as part of securing the rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution. The ministries and institutions that are part of the Justice Law and Order Sector have taken the lead in ensuring education and information provisions on human rights, the protection mechanisms and the effective remedies against infringement of rights available through different mechanisms.

62.The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) established in 2010 following the enactment of the Equal Opportunities Commission Act, 2007 is tasked with eliminating inequalities and discrimination against any individual or group of persons on the ground of sex, age, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability, and taking affirmative action in favor of groups marginalized on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom for purposes of redressing imbalances which exist against them.


Status of ratification of other human rights instruments






Entry into Force

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

12 Dec 2000

9 Mar 2005

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

12 Dec 2000

Slavery and Slavery-Like Practices





Entry into Force

Slavery Convention

Not signed

Protocol amending the Slavery Convention

Not signed

Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery

12 Aug 1964

Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others

Not signed

Freedom of Association





Entry into Force

Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention

Not signed

Employment and Forced Labour





Entry into Force

Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour

Not signed

Equal Remuneration Convention

Not signed

Abolition of Forced Labour Convention

4 Jun 1963

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention

Not signed

Employment Policy Convention

23 Jun 1967

Convention concerning Occupational Safety and Health and the Working Environment

Not signed






Entry into Force

Convention against Discrimination in Education

09 Sep 1968

Persons with Disabilities





Entry into Force

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

30 Mar 2007

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

30 Mar 2007

Refugees and Asylum





Entry into Force

Convention relating to the Status of Refugees

27 Sep 1976

Nationality, Statelessness, and the Rights of Aliens





Entry into Force

Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

Not signed

Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons

15 Apr 1965

War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, and Terrorism





Entry into Force

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

14 Nov 1995

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

17 Mar 1999

14 Jun 2002

Law of Armed Conflict





Entry into Force

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field

18 May 1964 (rat/acced)

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea 

18 May 1964 (rat/acced)

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

18 May 1964 (rat/acced)

Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

18 May 1964 (rat/acced)

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I)

13 Mar 1991 (rat/acced)

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims on Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II)

13 Mar 1991 (rat/acced)

African Regional Conventions





Entry into Force

African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights

18 Aug 1986

10 May 1986

Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa

10 Sep 1969

24 Jul 1987

Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on theRights of Women in Africa

18 Dec 2003

22 Jul 2010

Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on theEstablishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights

1 Feb 2001

16 Feb 2001

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

26 Feb 1992

17 Aug 1994

Source : University of Minnesota Library, USA.