Uganda – Children’s rights


3.3 Labour Rights


The Government has created conducive working environment that allows for businesses to thrive. As such, businesses have become a major source of employment for Ugandans especially the youth and women.

According to UBOS (2018), overall unemployment was at 9.7% while youth unemployment stood at 40.7%. The unemployment situation has left many Ugandans especially the youth with no choice, but to accept any form of work offered to them. This has led to the growing trend of employment opportunities in business activities. However, there have also been reports of cases of human rights abuses associated with businesses operations.

Notwithstanding the progressive legal regime, there are a number of abuses experienced by especially vulnerable groups like women, people with disabilities and youth.


Uganda Human Rights Commission highlighted an emerging human rights concern of trafficking of persons abroad for work. It was noted that most of the victims were women and youth. The commission also highlights that there is no clear reporting and response mechanism for those caught up in violations abroad. It was further noted that despite registration and licensing of companies to regulate this business, many fraudulent companies were not fully complying with the established guidelines thus exposing Ugandans to violations of their rights. During stakeholder consultations the issues raised include; negative impacts of externalization of labour where youth especially girls were taken to work abroad without contracts. Subsequently such victims experience abuse of rights, physical and psychological violence and lack of protection while abroad.


3.8 Women, Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups


Children: Child labour remains a serious issue in Uganda. At least two million children aged 5-17 are engaged in child labour with 1.7 million below 14 years of age, and 507,000 involved in hazardous work (ILO/IPEC & UBOS, 2013). This includes children working in the agriculture sectors, domes c services, extractive industry (including children involved in artisanal and small-scale mining) and those that are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The proportion of children in hazardous work was more than double in urban areas (61 percent) as compared to the rural (23 percent) (ILO/IPEC & UBOS, 2013). These issues were also raised during stakeholder consultations. Children were reported to be recruited to work on sugar, rice and tea plantations, as well as in the fishing sector. The vices were also reported to be common in mining (mineral and stone quarrying) and the construction sector where children are involved in manual labour. Poverty was cited as a main factor driving children to engage in labour. Stakeholders noted that there were reported cases of sexual assault and increase in child labour in the context of the construction of roads, for example during the construction of the Kabwoya Fort Portal Kamwenge road.

Youth: Concerns were raised during the consultation regarding reports of discrimination experienced by youth in terms of accessing employment opportunities. In many cases, they are offered only the least paying casual jobs and without formal contracts specifying the terms of employment. Youth, in the Eastern and Western regions, stated that there were instances of underpay and outright non-payment, in particular by construction companies. The consultation in Northern Uganda also revealed that there were abuse of the rights of the youth working on the large commercial farms established in the region. They claimed that most of these youth were ferried from far districts of West Nile who then end up stranded thus seeking help from the nearby districts whose resources are too meagre to offer repatriation to these victims.




OBJECTIVE 2: To promote human rights compliance and accountability by business actors

4.2.1. Empower communities especially vulnerable persons to claim their rights


II. Conduct community dialogue meetings with rights holders prioritizing women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities and people in hard to reach areas.


OBJECTIVE 4: To promote social inclusion and rights of the vulnerable and marginalized individuals and groups in business operations.

 4.4.1 Empower communities to demand for protection and fulfilment of their rights and access to justice


II. Implement the Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP).