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Sexual abuse highest in East Africa

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd December 2009 03:00 AM

CASES of gender-based sexual violence are higher in the Great Lakes region than any other part of the world, regional security officials have disclosed.

CASES of gender-based sexual violence are higher in the Great Lakes region than any other part of the world, regional security officials have disclosed.

By Jude Kafuuma

CASES of gender-based sexual violence are higher in the Great Lakes region than any other part of the world, regional security officials have disclosed.

The disclosure was made on Wednesday during a security meeting of officials from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, Angola and Zambia in Kampala.

The meeting was convened to discuss the role of security forces in addressing sexual violence in the Great Lakes region.

“Sexual violence against women is one of the greatest human rights abuses in the world. The Great Lakes region has had the worst cases of sexual violence and perpetrators of the vice,” said Stephen Singo, the regional programme officer on peace and security. He reported that the UN had recorded 200,000 cases of sexual violence in eastern Congo since 1998. Everyday, 40 women are raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Out of these, 13% are under 14 years, 3% die as result of the rape and 10-12% contract HIV/AIDS.

Singo added that the UN also recorded more than 7,000 cases of sexual violence committed by Congolese soldiers. He also disclosed that according to the 2008/2009 Kenya Health and Demographic Survey, 39% of women were sexually assaulted in their homesteads.

Singo further said domestic violence prevalence in Uganda is estimated at 57% and sexual violence at 61%. He also disclosed that 24% of women had their first sexual intercourse against their will. A health survey carried out in Uganda in 2006 shows that 60% of women in Uganda experience physical violence, 30% sexual violence and 16% violence during pregnancy.

“In Uganda, forced marriages still exist with 16% of the girls married off by the age of 15 and 53% by 18 years,” Singo disclosed.

Participants noted that political instability in the region was the major cause of sexual violence.

Sexual abuse highest in East Africa

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