A human rights critique of the implementation of the Kampala declaration on prison conditions in Africa: a case study of Uganda
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This research attempts to examine the implementation of the Kampala Declaration on Prison Conditions in Africa, 1996, by African governments, with specific reference to Uganda. The specific objectives of this study were to: find out the public perceptions in Uganda about the Kampala Declaration; establish whether the human rights standards and practices set forth under the Kampala Declaration are being implemented in Uganda; assess the challenges Uganda is facing in the implementation of the Kampala Declaration; and propose appropriate measures that may be undertaken by the government and its justice institutions in the realization of the required human rights standards in prisons. I premised the focus on the implementation of the Kampala Declaration because of the country’s commitment to adopt and enforce the recommendations therein. Further, my curiosity was aroused by the unending narrative of the poor prison conditions in Uganda, contrary to the set standards under the Kampala Declaration and other human rights instruments. This study was a description and a critical explanation of the current state of prison conditions in Uganda vis-à-vis those documented. Prior to this research, I was able to find information and commentaries on prison conditions, which I collected and analyzed qualitatively. Some interviews with 23 respondents, including a few prisoners, prison staff, and ex-prisoners, were also conducted to ascertain the realities of what is obtained in prisons in Uganda. The study highlighted the existing living conditions and found that challenges such as underfunding, a high crime rate, delayed trials, and overreliance on imprisonment, among others, affect the implementation of the Kampala Declaration. The study finally proposed recommendations for the effective implementation of the Kampala Declaration.