Gender and Land Rights Database


Rights entrenched in the Constitution

  • The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda of 1995: (10)
    - Guarantees gender equality through Objective VI and Objective XI of the “National Objectives of State Policy” section (11). Objective XV recognises the significant role that women play in society.

    - Gender is mainstreamed throughout the Constitution and within chapters related to the Protection of Human Rights, Land and Environment, and Institution of Traditional or Cultural Leaders. These chapters contain provisions that are directly related to women’s equal right to land and that specifically outlaw customs that are against the dignity of women or that undermine their status (11).

    - Article 2(1) states that the Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda and shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout Uganda. 

    - In its second clause, it states that: “If any other law or any custom is inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Constitution, the Constitution shall prevail, and that other law or custom shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void” (11).

    - Article 21 confirms the equal status of all citizens under the law and prohibits discrimination on a number of grounds, including sex (11).

    - Article 26(1) provides for every person, including women, the right to own property (11).

    - Article 31(1) guarantees women’s equal rights upon, during and after marriage and provides for the protection of the rights of widows and widowers to inherit the property of their deceased spouses (11). It also sets the legal age for marriage at eighteen for both men and women.

    - Article 32(1) compels the State to take affirmative action in favour of groups marginalized on the basis of gender (11).

    - Article 33 specifically describes the status and rights of women and enshrines women’s right to equal treatment with men (11). Laws, cultures, customs or traditions which are against the dignity, welfare or interest of women or which undermine their status are prohibited.

    -  Article 78 stipulates that Parliament shall consist of, inter alia, one woman representative for every district (11).

    - Article 180(2)(b): one-third of the membership of each local government shall be women (11).

    - Chapter 15, which deals with Land and Environment, does not contain specific gender provisions, nor does it exclude them (11).

    - Article 246(4) safeguards the allegiance and privileges accorded to traditional and cultural leader which under the Constitution are not regarded as a discriminatory practice prohibited under Article 21; but only insofar as the custom or practice, usage or tradition relating to a traditional or cultural leader does not detract from the rights of any person as guaranteed by this Constitution (11). 
  • In March 2001, a Constitutional Review Commission of 18 members was appointed. Land issues were included in the agenda of the Commission (3).