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Uganda: Gender-Based Violence campaign launched at Parliament

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  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 2010 the Domestic Violence Act 2010 and Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009 The Speaker was concerned that the population is unware about the laws addressing GBV and charged the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development to popularise the existing laws during the campaign The campaign is supported by the Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association UWOPA UN Women United Nations Population Fund and the embassies of Netherlands and Sweden The Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development Hon Betty Amongi said the campaign which commences on 25 December 2022 will focus on tackling GBV at household level cognisant that many cases happen in homes We know fathers brothers and other relatives who have defiled their daughters and sisters We are seeing many in 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 there was a growing trend of violence among couples which the campaign hopes to address She cited the 2021 Uganda Bureau of Statistics report which puts intimate partner sexual violence prevalence at 36 per cent and physical violence among women at 47 per cent Legislators during the plenary sitting after the launch tasked the minister to conduct the campaign activities in rural areas as opposed to the cities saying GBV cases are more prevalent 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 the Judiciary to expeditiously settle GBV cases saying the 2021 Police report indicates a poor 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
Uganda: Gender-Based Violence campaign launched at Parliament

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Gender-Based Violence

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.

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Speaker Anita Among

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.

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She, however, noted that although Parliament has passed legislations aimed at eliminating ‘the virus’, implementation has remained poor due to budgetary constraints.

Speaker Among

“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.

Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act

The laws include, the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2010, the Domestic Violence Act, 2010 and Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2009.

Ministry of Gender

The Speaker was concerned that the population is unware about the laws addressing GBV and charged the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to popularise the existing laws during the campaign.

Women Parliamentarians Association

The campaign is supported by the Uganda Women Parliamentarians Association (UWOPA), UN Women, United Nations Population Fund and the embassies of Netherlands and Sweden.

Minister of Gender

The Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi, said the campaign which commences on 25 December 2022, will focus on tackling GBV at household level cognisant that many cases happen in homes.

“We know fathers, brothers and other relatives who have defiled their daughters and sisters.

We are seeing many in 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

Minister Amongi said there was a growing trend of violence among couples which the campaign hopes to address.

She cited the 2021 Uganda Bureau of Statistics report which puts intimate partner sexual violence prevalence at 36 per cent and physical violence among women at 47 per cent.

Legislators during the plenary sitting after the launch, tasked the minister to conduct the campaign activities in rural areas as opposed to the cities, saying GBV cases are more prevalent in rural areas.

Cecilia Ogwal

“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.

Peter Ocen

“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).

Godfrey Kayemba

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 the Judiciary to expeditiously settle GBV cases saying the 2021 Police report indicates a poor conviction rate.

Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs

“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.”

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