Issues in Uganda’s human rights

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Assignment – Research Paper
Research Topic: Issues in Uganda’s human rights

As a female-born Canadian, living in one of the better countries of the world, take solace in the fact that as a person, have consciously been able to exercise my “rights and freedoms” through working, schooling or voting. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Constitution Act, 1985.) safeguards our basic human rights. As Canadians, we feel protected in this way, exercising our rights without much thought, passing through our day and night without griping fear for our lives, or of the police. Imagine for a moment waking up and the army has moved in, soldiers, police, trucks, tanks control the streets. All “left-handed” people, regardless of age are being taken away, and secretly relocated for re-education?! As a society or an individual within, we would be helpless and vulnerable, should some form of organized brutality be thrust upon us. The western countries of the world place human rights, in high esteem. In stark contrast, woefully many countries, Uganda in particular, are continually in a desperate struggle for the advancement of human rights. (Ewins, 2011) The country still faces heavy criticism regarding the treatment and growth, or lack thereof in the area of human rights. In particular, the specific malfeasance shown toward women, children, homosexuals, and the disabled. Officially known as the Republic of Uganda, is a sovereign nation located in the continent of Africa, bordered by Kenya, Sudan, the Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Even though this republic is only forty-six years old, since gaining independence from Great Britain, methods of torture and child labour still exist. Continually, there are seemingly insurmountable struggles (i.e. arrests, enslavement, poor laws, etc) (Middleton & Miller, 2008). Additionally, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and the mentally/physically ill in Uganda have virtually no protection at all, and both male and female homosexual activity or interaction is illegal. (Ewins, 2011)

The Uganda Human Rights Commission, an agency established in 1995, still continues to struggle trying to put an end to the cruelty concerning the treatment of women, children, homosexuals, and the mentally ill. This same agency is responsible for crimes against children, which is an underlying problem that only exacerbates the situation for the advancement of human rights in Uganda. The practice of child abuse is considered exploitative, extremely unethical, and inhumane. Commonly, children are laboured for days on end, performing chores for superiors. Ugandan children are trafficked within the country, as well as to other countries as Canada, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. (Clark-Kazak, 2010) Karamojong women and children, an ethnic group of herders living mainly in the northeast of Uganda, are sold in cattle markets or by intermediaries and forced into situations of domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, herding, and begging. Many Ugandan security and government agencies, including Uganda's Rapid Response Unit, the police force, law-enforcement officials and the military, have been accused of torture. (Clark-Kazak, 2010) These agencies persecute opponents of the government, carry out abductions, disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture and act both independently, as well as interdependently with each other, and in cooperation with the Ugandan Police. Some of these inhumane acts of torture include kicking and beating, which is described as “kandoya” - a tying of the victim’s hands and feet behind the body and strung from the ceiling, and even electric shock by attaching wires to the male genitalia. Because these agencies operate through the Ugandan Police, not much stance has been taken by the government. (Clark-Kazak, 2010) Over the past twenty years, the rebel group LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) has...
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