The Deputy Speaker of Parliament has on Tuesday launched the legislative agenda for children—also raising critical issues concerning children with special needs.
The much-needed legislative blueprint for children was developed and presented by Members of Parliament of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children (UPFC). The forum which was started in the 7th Parliament is an avenue through which the status of Ugandan children, especially those in difficult circumstances could be addressed. It is a platform where MPs from different political parties lobby for the rights of children in situations of competing needs and priorities where children’s rights are often neglected.
Tayebwa said the legislative agenda would help Parliament as an institution to pass laws that safeguard children against emerging threats including homosexuality and sexual harassment.
"Most of the children face sexual and physical violence and as a country, we are not doing very well. We are ranked number 16 out of the 25 countries which are doing badly on child labour rights. We can't be proud of that. We must look for a way of addressing that, “he said.
According to national survey on violence against children done in 2020, every 3 in 4 young adults, reported having experienced at least four forms of violence including sexual or physical harassment during childhood.
Youth and Children Affairs junior minister Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke said the government of Uganda acknowledges that there's an urgent need to initiate and promote legislation that fosters a holistic development of all children.
"We recognize the need to harness the full potential of every child as a key strategy for economic transformation, she added, lauding UPFC for providing technical oversight in the development of the agenda,” Mateke said.
"I commended Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children for its commitment and the deliberate efforts to monitor the national legislative and policy environment," she added.
Margaret Makhoha, the Chairperson Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children said the Agenda Identifies gaps where the legislation does not protect internationally recognized rights and principles to guide required legislative and policy reforms.
"Most of these laws are scattered that, and may be exploited to deny children their rights, or do not address the current context and emerging challenges, such as the post-pandemic environment, thus a need for the Forum to assess continuously assess their relevance and address existing legislative gaps,” Makhoha said.