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Children's Bill Signed into Law

President Yoweri K. Museveni President Yoweri K. Museveni

 

President Museveni has assented to the Children’s (Amendment) Bill 2015, which seeks to strengthen the protection of children’s rights and restrict legal guardianship of children to Ugandan citizens. The President assented to the Bill on May 20, two months after the Bill was passed by Parliament. The law amends the old Children Act, 1997 (cap 59), which focused on the basic needs of the child. The passing of the legislation followed a push for a watertight law to protect Uganda’s children being exposed to abuse and exploitation by those who take advantage of the gaps in the parent law.

The Act also provides for guardianship of children; prohibit corporal punishment and other related matters.

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), an organisation which promotes children’s rights in Uganda, hailed the move as a milestone in promoting human rights. Uganda ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, committing itself to putting children first so that they grow, survive and reach their full potential. The Justice, Law and Order Sector with support from UNICEF is currently implementing the Justice for Children (J4C) Programme whose is aim is to strengthen the overall sector’s capacity to respond to the needs of children in the justice system

Clause 11 of Act offers clarity on guardianship. It introduces legal customary guardianship in which guardianship is only possible if there are no relatives willing to look after the child or if alternative care options have been exhausted; and is restricted to only Ugandans.

Non-Inter-country adoption will be a matter of last resort after other alternative care options have been exhausted and clarify on the offences of an administrator of the estate of a child to ensure that children’s property is not abused.

 

Published: June 2, 2016