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Wednesday,October 21,2020 22:17 PM

Amnesty decries violence in North

By Vision Reporter

Added 29th November 2007 03:00 AM

An 11-year-old girl who fled from rebel captivity in 2001 ended up in an abusive relationship after an LC1 official in Pader forced her to marry his son.

An 11-year-old girl who fled from rebel captivity in 2001 ended up in an abusive relationship after an LC1 official in Pader forced her to marry his son.

By Geresom Musamali

An 11-year-old girl who fled from rebel captivity in 2001 ended up in an abusive relationship after an LC1 official in Pader forced her to marry his son.

The details of the girl’s fate are part of the Amnesty International report on northern Uganda, to be released today.

According to the report titled ‘Uganda: Justice System Fails Victims of Sexual Abuse,’ a UPDF soldier on patrol in Amuru district raped a 17-year-old girl, impregnating her and infecting her with HIV/AIDS.

The UPDF in 2005 also held four women from Kitgum suspected of practicing witchcraft. The soldiers caned the women 50 times each over a period of two days before releasing them.

The northern insurgency was characterised by sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls by the LRA and Government forces.

UNICEF estimates that more than 32,000 children were abducted by the rebels between 1986 and 2002 and used as child combatants and sex slaves.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, Police officers, teachers, employers, government officials, relatives and neighbours are among those named in the report for perpetuating sexual violence against the war victims.

Amnesty International noted that the criminal justice system in the North was

condoning violence against women and girls, while it protects suspected perpetrators.

“The lack of justice requires attention of the Government and the international community,” said Godfrey Odongo, a reseacher from Amnesty International.

“The majority of the cases of violence against women are not reported to the Police because most victims have lost hope in getting justice.”

The researchers visited Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, Pader and Lira districts. They interviewed several women, girls and their families about the discrimination they suffered while trying to access justice, the culture of impunity surrounding rape cases, domestic violence, assault and other forms of violence against women.

“Violence against women in northern Uganda has been exacerbated by the effects of the conflict between the LRA and the Government forces. The situation remains grim, despite the recent cessation of hostilities,” Odongo said.

Forms of violence against women and girls reported included rape, child sexual abuse and physical assault, perpetrated especially in the internally displaced peoples’ camps.

The victims told Amnesty International that the Police were reluctant to investigate cases involving soldiers. Often, there were no Police officers to report cases to, as the stations are few and located in far off areas. The Police also demand bribes to investigate the cases, arrest and transport the suspects. Victims are often asked to pay the officer’s lunch or to feed the suspect while in detention.

Amnesty decries violence in North

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