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Religious leaders call for mass sensitization on violence against women

By Andrew Ssenyonga

Added 19th October 2018 05:09 PM

The call was made during the National Women’s Week Inter-Faith Prayers held Hotel Africana, Kampala.

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Rev. Canon Olivia Nassaka Bbanja demands addressing participants during the National Women’s Week Inter- Faith prayers at Hotel Africana in Kampala on October 19, 2018. Photos by Juliet Kasirye

The call was made during the National Women’s Week Inter-Faith Prayers held Hotel Africana, Kampala.

Religious leaders have raised concern over the increasing number of cases of violence against women in the country. The leaders are saying that this is affecting the dignity of motherhood.

The leaders under their umbrella body, Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), noted that violence against women and girls, a gross human rights violation, devastates lives, causes untold pain, suffering and illness and degrades status of the afflicted.

The call was made during the National Women’s Week Inter-Faith Prayers held   Hotel Africana, Kampala.

The prayer breakfast was organised by IRCU to reflect on the issues and understand the status of women in Uganda.

Addressing participants, the Vicar General of Uganda Orthodox Church Paul Mutaasa called upon leaders at all levels to sensitize the masses against violence particularly on women and girls at grassroots level saying that without taking the campaign to the most affected, the good legislation and the empowerment programmes will remain on papers.

“With sensitisation, you need to penetrate the society if you must help the people. You must educate the people on the dangers of violence against women,” he stressed.

Mutaasa noted that it is crucial and incumbent upon the religious leadership, without discrimination to see that violence against women and girls is eliminated country wide if Ugandans are to make any headway in all endeavours; because such violence is detrimental to the country’s development as far as attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is concerned.

 nter eligious ouncil ganda  sma anagwa interacting with  rogramme manager arol unga dembe  as ev ichard ukundo looks on during the ational omens eek nter aith prayers (L-R)Inter Religious Council Uganda PRO, Asma Kanagwa interacting with IRCU Programme manager, Carol Bunga Idembe (S) as Rev. Richard Rukundo looks on during the National Women’s Week Inter Faith prayers

The prelate said, fighting against gender-based violence also requires sustainable investments in gender equality and other women’s programmes in education, health, economic and political empowerment.

“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential for meeting Uganda’s aspiration of inclusive and sustainable development as enshrined in the National Development Plan,” he said.

In her sermon Rev. Canon Dr. Olivia Nassaka, director for teaching and learning at Uganda Christian University condemned the “atrocities” that include sexual abuse, violation and cover-ups by the clergy and tasked all churches and other leaders to apologise to victims.

Referring to the Pope, who recently apologised for the wrongs committed by the Catholic Church leaders in the US, Dr. Nassaka said church leadership in Uganda should come out boldly and apologise for such abuses committed their respective churches.

 “It is inevitable that we, as Church leaders in Uganda to acknowledge and condemn with deep sorrow and shame, the violence perpetrated by consecrated persons, clerics, and all those entrusted with the mission of watching over and caring for those most vulnerable,” she said.

She advised that the church and the civic leadership in the country in general should ensure that the laws that deter violations against women and girls are implanted.

“We have delayed in applying these actions and sanctions that are so necessary, yet I am confident that they will help to guarantee a greater culture of care in the present and future,” she added.

Rev. Beatrice Nalubega head of St. Steven Church, Kisugu said religious institutions do not tolerate gender-based violence.

“We should take advantage of faith network and work across faiths to remind the communities that GVB violates dignity and human rights and their faiths call upon them to be merciful, caring and loving towards all,” she said.

She committed to offer spiritual support, counseling and guidance to those who perpetrate violence as the voice of accountability in communities.

“Ending GBV will require deliberate and intentional engagement of men; men that will have inspiration, confidence and commitment to say no more to GBV in all its forms,” she advised.

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