The Children’s Act, which came into force in 1996, enables police, community leaders, and local officials to handle infringements of children’s rights. But experts say the law is not an adequate deterrent in cases where parents do not provide for their children.
Rights activists have called for stringent measures to safeguard
children against neglect.
In Gulu, the number of children being neglected by their parents is on the
raising concerns among the public and rights activists that local law
enforcement authorities and police are failing to contain the challenge.
Josephine Ogwetta, the Deputy Director of St. Jude Children's Home in Bardege
Division in Gulu Municipality is concerned that irresponsible parenting
compounded by breakdown in social fabrics is responsible for increased child
neglect in the district.
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Ogwetta disclosed that the children's home that started in 1987 during the
Lord's Resistance Army - LRA rebellion in northern Uganda currently is home to
80 children, 24 of whom with physical and mental disabilities while others are
epileptic and more than 1,000 neglected have grown up and resettled by the centre.
Gulu district Probation and Social Welfare Officer, Jessica Anena says that
several cases of child neglect are being handled though she asked for more time
to compile the statistics.
Most cases of child neglect are handled by police child and family protection
unit; district probation and non-governmental organisations or district
probation and social welfare officers who, rather seek to mediate between
children and their parents for a long term solution rather than criminal
Margaret Ejang, the Acting Secretary of Uganda Human Rights Commission –UHRC
observes that nationwide, children are increasingly facing gross violation of
their rights which places burdens on entities and government.
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According to the 2018 annual police crime report, a total of 8,961 children
were neglected compared to 12,152 in 2017. However, up to 11,589 cases
where children were direct victims of crime were reported as compared to 15,093
In Uganda, Children’s Act stipulates that parents have a duty to provide for
their children, and to ensure they have adequate access to food, clothing, and
education and health care, a significant number have neglected these
The Children’s Act, which came into force in 1996, enables police, community
leaders, and local officials to handle infringements of children’s rights. But
experts say the law is not an adequate deterrent in cases where parents do not
provide for their children.