Uganda high court rejects adultery law

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Uganda [JURIST news archive] Thursday rejected a law criminalizing adultery by women and parts of an estate law according greater rights to surviving husbands than to surviving wives. The adultery legislation effectively permitted married men to engage in extramarital affairs with unmarried women, but punished married women with fines or up to 12 years' imprisonment for adultery. Attorney General Kiddhu Makubuya [official profile] had urged the Court to modify the law to provide equal treatment for men and women if it was found unconstitutionally discriminatory, but the Court noted that it did not have such authority. Makubaya criticized the decision, saying it would spur an increase in promiscuity.

The Law and Advocacy Group for Women in Uganda [WOUGNET profile], a women's rights advocacy group, also challenged the estate legislation as discriminatory because it prevented women from inheriting the entirety of their deceased husband's estate, despite the total disposition of property to the husband upon his wife's death. The rejected portion of the law also allowed husbands to appoint guardians for their children without consent by the mother. BBC has more. Reuters has additional coverage.



 

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