The Lost Generation: How the Government and Non-Governmental Organizations Are Protecting the Rights of Orphans in Uganda

Caruso, Jeanne; Cope, Kevin
January 2006
Human Rights Review;Jan-Mar2006, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p98
Academic Journal
Millions of Ugandan children have become orphaned over the last two decades, the primary cause being the increasing HIV/AIDS epidemic. This phenomenon has prompted the government to institute numerous legal reforms. These internal reforms, implemented in a legal environment based on English common law and increasingly, international standards, greatly influence the legal inheritance rights of Ugandan orphans and their chances for prosperity. In many regions, however, the traditional local mores trump both national and global standards, meaning that while Ugandan parents may own appreciable property upon death, their children rarely receive it, but rather fall victim to "property grabbing" or mismanagement by relatives. The key impediments to solving this problem and to Uganda's adoption of a more egalitarian system of inheritance include the ineffectiveness of local councils, the inadequate enforcement of the Children Statute, and the heavily centralized and cumbersome structure of the national government. Therefore, significant reforms are needed, including the pronouncement of a national policy regarding orphans, the reduction of national reliance on NGOs, and the restoration of a national legislative effort to codify orphans' property rights.


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