Uganda: Gender-Based Violence campaign launched at Parliament – African Business
The annual international campaign dubbed, ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV)’, has been launched at Parliament with an appeal to involve men in programmes aimed at eliminating GBV.
Presiding at the launch on Wednesday, 23 November 2022, Speaker Anita Among said that GBV had become ‘a persistent virus’ that calls for an amalgamated effort to defeat it.
She, however, noted that although Parliament has passed legislations aimed at eliminating ‘the virus’, implementation has remained poor due to budgetary constraints.
“As Parliament, we need to ensure that the laws on GBV elimination must be budgeted for, it is one thing to pass a law and another to have it implemented,” said Speaker Among.
The laws include the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2010 (the Domestic Violence Act of 2010) and Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2009.
The Speaker was concerned by the lack of awareness in the population about GBV laws and charged Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, to make the laws known during the campaign.
The Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association, UN Women, United Nations Population Fund, and the embassies in the Netherlands and Sweden support the campaign.
Hon. Betty Amongi said that the campaign will be centered on tackling GBV at the household level as many cases are occurring in homes.
“We know fathers, brothers and other relatives who have defiled their daughters and sisters. Many of these are being reported by the media. We therefore want to start with homes,” said the minister.
She added: “Violent homes can easily affect girls from pursuing education – a girl will be forced to run away from her violent home into early marriage.”
Minister Amongi said that there was a growing trend towards violence between couples that the campaign aims to address. The 2021 Uganda Bureau of Statistics report shows that intimate partner violence is at 36% and physical violence in women at 47% respectively.
During the plenary sitting following the launch, the legislators asked the minister to direct campaign activities in rural areas rather than in cities. This was because GBV cases are more common in rural areas.
“Sensitisation activities seem to be at the upper strata of our society yet GBV is mostly in the rural area, can I be told what activity is there in Dokolo so that I can be part of that rural woman who is being abused, who does not know the legal framework to defend her?” asked Hon. Cecilia Ogwal (FDC, Woman Rep., Dokolo District).
MPs re-emphasised the Speaker’s plea to empower boy children, who they said, have been neglected.
“We are putting much emphasis on girl children and our boys are going astray. If you go to the villages, the roles that men used to play have been relegated to women; its women who pay school fees and take care of homes,” said Hon. Peter Ocen, Ind., Kole South County
Hon. Godfrey Kayemba (NUP, Bukomansimbi) said: “Boys grow up but they are not empowered and that is why boys have complicated hearts and acts. I have a friend in my constituency who was beaten by his woman and when he went to the Police, they just laughed at him”.
Legislators also want GBV cases to be settled quickly by the Judiciary, citing the 2021 Police Report as indicating a low conviction rate.
“The action report from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs shows the conviction rate of rape perpetrators in the last one year at five per cent, that means it could take almost 20 years to convict a rape perpetrator,” said Hon. Samuel Opio (Ind., Kole North County).
He added: “Many of these cases ‘die’ at the Police station and fail to proceed through the justice system to the prosecution.”
Distributed by APO Group, on behalf of Parliament of Uganda
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