Children in conflict with law: An analysis of the Uganda juvenile justice system.
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Despite the existence of a juvenile justice legal framework in Uganda, child offenders continue to miss out on their human rights when in conflict with the law. This has led to negative consequences in their lives, communities in which these children live and the country at large. The study sought to: highlight the juvenile justice legal framework, establish levels of awareness of the juvenile justice legal framework, find out how Uganda handles children in conflict with the law, identify the challenges faced in the implementation of juvenile justice in Uganda and suggest recommendations to improve the delivery of juvenile justice in Uganda. Data was collected using questionnaires administered to officials in charge of juvenile justice and child offenders in juvenile centres using purposive sampling technique. The data was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively using the SPSS computer programme. Seeking to establish how children in conflict with the law are treated by the juvenile justice system in Uganda, the study worked with 51 respondents who included children. Data was collected from the Naguru Remand Home in Nakawa division, Kampiringisa National Rehabilitation Centre in Mpigi district, Mwanga II Children‟s Court, local council officials; and Probation and Welfare Officers among others. From the findings, 62.5% of the adults confessed ignorance about the Beijing rules, 37% of the children in the remand homes were arrested by the Police and thus not shocking that 85.2% confessed to mishandling during arrest and confinement. Results indicated that despite the existence of a juvenile justice legal framework, child offenders were not treated as stipulated in the law - mainly due to challenges like lack of sensitisation, under funding and lack of commitment by the duty-bearers among others. Therefore, the study showed that juvenile justice is not effectively delivered in Uganda. Recommendations include; strategies for sensitisation on juvenile justice, supervision by oversight bodies, improved funding and commitment by the duty-bearers.