Uganda: Family law with respect to custody of children of widows; whether husband's family has better claim to custody of children, including step-children (biologically related to mother, not deceased husband); including legislation and enforcement
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||12 March 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||UGA36410.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Uganda: Family law with respect to custody of children of widows; whether husband's family has better claim to custody of children, including step-children (biologically related to mother, not deceased husband); including legislation and enforcement , 12 March 2001, UGA36410.E , available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4beba8.html [accessed 24 May 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
According to Pilot Country studies conducted in 1999, "several types of marriages exist legally in Uganda: Civil, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Customary. There are separate statutes for each type of marriage" (Change 1999).
A report posted on the Child News Line Website states that "traditional family law in Uganda held that a man's brothers inherited his property, but it also dictated that the deceased's widow and orphans would become wards of those brothers and be cared for by them." However, due to the AIDS epidemic, there has been a breakdown of this community system and those supposed to take care for the widow and the orphans reportedly renege on their responsibility ( Nov. 1997).
According to Country Reports 1999,
in 1997, the Government began to implement the Children's Statute, which provides extensive protection ... for families and children. However, implementation during the year proved exceedingly difficult, in view of manpower and judicial constraints; in reality, little was done to enforce the statute's provisions ... many customary laws discriminate against women in the areas of adoption, marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In most areas, women may not own or inherit property, nor retain custody of their children under local customary law (2000, 450).
No reports on whether the husband's family has better claim to custody of children including step-children biologically related to the mother and not the deceased husband, could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Change [London]. 1999. "Pilot Country Studies 1999: Uganda."
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000. 2001. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Press.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 1999. 2000. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Press.
Child Newsline. November 1997. Elaine Eliah. "Five Children to Support, and a Long Walk to School."
Additional Sources Consulted
Africa Research Bulletin
The Indian Ocean Newsletter
Keesing's Recorder of World Events
Resource Centre. Country File. Uganda.
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