Challenges of domesticating international human rights treaties: A case study of the convention on the rights of the child in Uganda.
This study focuses on the challenges of implementing international human rights standards through domestication. It examines the claim that the values contained in international human rights treaties are predominantly Western and therefore, alien to local communities, which leads to value-clash and affect the realisation of the standards locally. It seeks to cover the gap of lack of an established participatory process for domesticating human rights treaties. Domestication of the CRC in Uganda through the enactment of the Children Act provides the case study. The study focuses on participatory rights that include the right of a child to be heard, to privacy, information, association, and to choice of religion. The districts of Buliisa and Kampala were chosen as the study areas. During the study, both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection were employed. Literature on legal and human rights theories, domestication, legal and institutional frameworks on children’s rights was reviewed. Thomas Aquinas’ theory of law was used as the basis for the theoretical framework. The study targeted members of households, teachers and children respondents. Social and legal experts were also interviewed. Findings of the study indicate that there is a difference between the values contained in the CRC and in the Children Act and those of the local communities, especially on participation rights. That the process of domesticating the CRC in Uganda did not cater for wide consultation of the local communities. As a result, the communities have shunned the participation rights that the Children Act propounds. The researcher recommends that developing countries, while ratifying international agreements, should leave out unwanted provisions through reservations. The researcher has further developed a Participatory Domestication Model that calls for participation of all stakeholders in the domestication process, so as to improve the level of acceptance of human rights standards by the local communities.
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