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The Ugandan government has a constitution which lays out the basis of their government. I found it very interesting that there was a large focus on not speaking against the constitution, because that would be considered treason.
What rights and freedoms are guaranteed in the document?
In the Chapter 4 - Human Rights section of the Ugandan Constitution, it is clear that Ugandan's have very detailed and similar rights to those that we do. They have several sections similar to our equality rights which give rights to women, children, those with disabilities, as well as the section titled "equality and freedom from discrimination". There was also a section that said the citizens are able to vote in elections, but it doesn't say how often. They also included the fact that people's property and homes cannot be searched without consent, and each person has right to a public hearing after arrest. I didn't see anything resembling our mobility rights. The Constitution also says that "no person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." What I found particularly interesting is that this document was last revised in 1982, yet many of the rights given to the citizens are not being followed by the government. Just this December, the government passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which prevents the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender) from being what they are. Furthermore, the police forces and government treats them unfairly and they are even subjected to physical abuse from their own government! As for the section I quote earlier about not being subjected to torture, well, according to the Amnesty International survey in 2011, this is not the case. Directly from the site...
"Dozens of people in the north-eastern Karamoja region were reported to have been killed during the year in disputed circumstances by government soldiers engaged in security and disarmament operations. Army personnel were also accused of committing torture and other ill-treatment in the course of these operations. The government did not institute credible investigations into alleged human rights violations and no one was brought to justice. In October, the Uganda Human Rights Commission reported that torture and ill-treatment by the police, other law-enforcement officials and the military remained widespread."
How might the issue in your novel be different if the Canadian Charter were applied?
The major issue at hand in my novel is Joseph Kony's LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). It is established throughout the novel that Kony is the "bad guy" (for lack of a better term), and the government are the "good guys" who are trying to catch Kony. This is right in a sense, but there are many crimes that go against their charter which the police force or government of Uganda has committed. The thing is, Uganda has a constitution which outlines almost all the rights we have in Canada, and more, and when I read it I found it to be very fair and respectful to the citizens. However, if the government doesn't follow it than what use is it? Therefore, I feel that if the Canadian Charter were applied, it would be the same situation as what is going on now. The problem is, even though rights and freedoms are in place in the Ugandan Constitution, the government does not respect or follow them, so why would the Canadian Charter be any different? Both the Canadian and Ugandan charter's prohibit the kind of behaviour the LRA is showing, so I don't think the difference would affect it. The one thing I noticed is that because the Ugandan constitution does not have mobility rights, people who are afraid and in danger would not be able to leave the country. As it says in the Mobility Rights of the Canadian charter, 6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada. I couldn't find anything that expressed that Ugandan citizen could do the same. Therefore, more children and women could be held kidnapped by the LRA, more causalities would occur, and more people would be traumatized because they may not be able to leave the country when the LRA was at large.
CNN News Article (Anti-Homosexuality Bill)
Ugandan Constitution (Chapter 4, Human Rights and Freedoms)
Ugandan International Crimes Division