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I. Legal Framework

Constitutional privacy framework

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda1 recognizes the right to privacy as a human right.2 Article 27 of the Constitution provides:

No person shall be subjected to unlawful search of the person, home or other property of that person; or unlawful entry by others of the premises of that person. No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, correspondence, communications or other property.3

The right to privacy, however, is not an absolute right, as it can be derogated from by lawful means. Article 43 provides that in the enjoyment of the prescribed rights and freedoms, no person shall prejudice the fundamental or other human rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.4

The Constitutional Court addresses questions relating to the interpretation of the Constitution. Article 137(4) of the Constitution empowers the Constitutional Court to grant an order of redress, should it determine that a law or act or omission by any person or authority is inconsistent, or in contravention with, a constitutional provision.5 Where necessary, it refers the matter to the High Court, to investigate and determine the appropriate redress.

Privacy regulator

The Constitution established the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) to oversee the enjoyment of all rights provided for in the Constitution.6 The Uganda Human Rights Commission Act provides in greater details the powers, functions, and structure of the UHRC, as well as the procedure and mechanisms for handling complaints before it.7 The UHRC has engaged in significant monitoring of activities in contentious areas of human rights, especially in the activities of security agencies. The commission has the powers and general mandate to address all complaints arising out of human rights abuses. It is entrusted with the duty to initiate investigations of human rights violations; have access to and monitor detention conditions; conduct educational and other activities to promote human rights awareness; and monitor and make recommendations for government compliance with its international obligations. The UHRC can subpoena any witness or document, order the release of any detained person, and recommend payment or compensation, or any other legal remedy after it learns of the existence of a human rights abuse.8

Uganda does not have a Data Protection Authority. The UHRC is therefore the body handling the complaints that arise out of issues concerning the abuse of privacy.