The constitution of the republic of Uganda seeks to protect and promote the rights of citizens under all circumstances. Article 46 in this regard provides for protection of human rights during a state of emergency. The clause provides that during a state of emergency, an act of parliament shall not be taken to contravene the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution, if that Act of parliament authorises the taking of measures that are reasonably justifiable for dealing with a state of emergency.

The question here then becomes what is reasonably justifiable for dealing with a state of emergency. An act that is reasonably justifiable refers to one that is capable of being justified; that can be shown to be or can be defended as being just, right, or warranted; defensible under a given circumstance. Therefore, under ordinary circumstances, this action may not pass as reasonably justifiable but due to the state of emergency it may be called for. For example, restricting people’s movements during a pandemic is reasonably justifiable during the pandemic but ordinarily it would be an infringement of the right to movement.

Article 46 therefore looks at protecting the rights of citizens during such a state provided that the action being taken by the government can be justified. This is on a case by case basis since each emergency calls for a different action to be taken.