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Posts Tagged ‘VAW Uganda’

vawOn 3rd November 2016, Uganda’s human rights situation will be reviewed for the second time by the United Nations Human Rights Council under the Universal Peer Review (UPR) mechanism. The UPR mechanism was established in 2006 has since reviewed the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. It reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. According to the UPR Info statistics, a total of

The review takes place after every four years and Uganda was last reviewed in 2011. A total of 182 recommendations were made by 51 states, 80 recommendations contained specific actions and 28 recommendations addressed women’s rights.  Some of the recommendations that Uganda accepted that addressed women’s rights were ensure the implementation of laws protecting women from violence including sexual violence, investigate cases of gender based violence and bring perpetrators to justice, provide legal and medical support to survivors.

 Some of the steps  taken by the government

Uganda has put in place the necessary legal and policy framework to support efforts to prevent SGBV. It boasts of a specific policy on sexual and gender based violence along with a Reproductive Health Policy. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) in partnership with developed the National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325, 1820 and the Goma Declaration with a specific focus on ensuring the protection of women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

In line with the ICGLR declaration on ending SGBV, the Government of Uganda launched the Zero Tolerance to Violence against Women campaign in 2012. The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has also made some progress by coordinating a SGBV Working Group that includes the participation of civil society actors engaged in various interventions to address SGBV. In addition, the ministry  launched a National Gender-Based Violence Database (NGBVD) to  collect, store and generate reports on Gender Based Violence in real time

Last but not least, the Uganda Police has incorporated a component on SGBV into their Training Curriculum and have gone ahead to establish an SGBV department in the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. To facilitate easy access to justice for SGBV survivors, the general Police Form 3, which was inadequate for recording complaints of sexual violence was revised because it was  found to be lacking in facilitating a comprehensive examination of victims of crimes. The forms were ambiguous especially for medical personnel who were tasked with completing them. This ambiguity affected prosecutions in court due to the numerous interpretations the form elicited thus creating reasonable doubt in the mind of the judicial officer. Further still, every victim of a sexual crime/assault was previously required to undergo medical examination by a medical officer who in most cases is a police surgeon. There are very few police surgeons on the ground and mainly based in urban areas. Accessing justice then became difficult for those in rural areas or those who had difficulty accessing a medical officer, for financial and other reasons.

 The Missing Links

 Despite the above efforts, the results are still minimal and violence against women has been on the increase. According to the Uganda Police crime report, 2014, violence against women was among the top crimes. Defilement continues to lead in Sex Related Crimes. In 2014 and a total of 12,077cases were recorded compared to 9,598cases in 2013, thus giving an increase of 25.8% while 1,099cases of rape were recorded compared to 1,042 cases in 2013, an increase by 5.4%. A total of 3,006 cases of Domestic Violence were registered and 314 deaths as a result of domestic violence.

According to the National Gender Based Violence Database, North and Eastern Uganda have the highest rates  at 45% and 43% respectively compared to central region at 6%. This so becasue the two regions are just recovering from the effects of the LRA  insurgency  which lasted for over  a period of 20 years.

Despite the above statistics, justice for the survivors of SGBV is still fear from being realized. For instance, the government has not set up special courts to handle SGBV cases and efforts to sensitize judges and magistrates are still minimal. It is also estimated that only 2 in 10 women report violence or seek help and even when cases are reported; and  conviction rates for perpetrators stand at only 6.6% of prosecuted cases.

Way Forward

Violence against women is deeply rooted in the unequal power relations between men and women and is triggered by the discriminatory social and cultural practices in the society.  Therefore, intervention to avert it have to be holistic and multidimensional.

As the government of Uganda prepares to undergo the second cycle of the UPR, more efforts are needed beyond adoption of laws and policies. The government of Uganda should allocate more resources and live up to its commitment of protecting women and girls from violence.

 

 

 

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Skills development is one of the critical ICT interventions and as such, in November 2010, a group of grassroots women paralegals in Namaingo district Eastern Uganda were equipped with ICTs skills    as one of the efforts to enable them utilise ICT tools in   combating violence against women in their communities..

The  ICT training emphasized the use of  new tools  of  communication such as   use of mobile telephone applications  and  social media.

The women have been able to use ICT to raise awareness on issues of VAW in their community using bulk SMS and  share their stories through blogging. On the otherhand, ICT has been more than just the tools for communication  but an aid in executing their duties of resolving misunderstandings in families.

In one of the chats I had with the women paralegals recently,they  confessed that had it been the use of ICT tools ie the digital camera and a recorder, they would have failed to intervene.

“The   camera and a recorder has eased our work, there are men who refuse to engage in mediation.  We just get out our camera and a recorder to record a woman’s statement and to take her  picture. This leaves the man shaking thinking that this will be published in the media and he soften  and agrees to settle the matter”.

This is because men fear to be exposed.

The women went further ahead to share a story of a man in one village called Bukhemba who  battered his wife and abandoned her  with  the children. The woman was refered  to the paralegals  in that village  for help. The paralegals  Grace and Gettu  intervened  in the matter with the support of the local council leadership. At first the man had refused to talk to them  and when Grace got out a camera and a recorder from the bag and the man thought that he was  going to be publicized in the media  and he accepted to talk and confirmed that he had beaten his wife because she had delayed to get the goats in the field. The man had also refused the woman not to dig in her land and he  had married another wife.

After the negotiations and mediation, the man  apologized to the woman and agreed to take care of her. He also agreed to build for her another house  within three months. The woman was living in a small shark with was almost falling down.

This is one of the several cases  where ICT tools have been more than just tools but an aid in combating violence against women.

If the women did not have ICT skills, it would have been a little bit difficult and   and somehow challenging to convince  men to engage in mediation  to resolve domestic misunderstandings.

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