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Activists want rape and defilement victims cared for

By John Agaba

Added 26th May 2016 07:04 PM

Uganda signed the 2011 ICGLR Kampala declaration towards ending dehumanizing acts

Activists want rape and defilement victims cared for

Delegates attended the workshop on strengthening the capacity of civil society ICGLR National Forum Members in Uganda to monitor the implementation of the Kampala Declaration on SGVB. Photo by Godiver Asege

Uganda signed the 2011 ICGLR Kampala declaration towards ending dehumanizing acts

Activists at the international conference on Great Lakes region workshop on sexual and gender based violence have asked governments to assist females and males who suffer extreme cases of rape, and to rehabilitate the perpetrators.

Eunice Musiime, the executive director at the Akina Mama Wa Afrika foundation, said severe cases of rape and defilement survivors needed shelter from the perpetrators and are provided comprehensive medical packages to heal them and have access to justice at the function at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

"We have 11 shelters for survivors of SGBV across the country that accept extreme cases who don't have where to go after they are abused. But it is not enough to just provide shelter (for survivors). They need medication. They need quality medical care and therapy so they are healed physically from the raptures and mentally from the trauma," the executive director at the foundation fighting to ease the SGB violations in Uganda, said.

"They need access to justice so the culprits are punished and startup capital so they have sources of income. If they are young girls or boys, they need to go back to school," she said.

Uganda signed the 2011 ICGLR Kampala declaration to work towards ending the dehumanizing acts in the 12 member countries and to promote human rights in the region.

But the commitments notwithstanding, sexual-based violence, including the cutting of a female's clitoris in some traditions and child marriages, continue to be perpetuated with such impunity.

The 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey estimate over two thirds (68%) of ever married women as having been raped or genitally mutilated or forced into the unions. Annual police reports estimate an average 8000 women are raped or sexually harassed a year.

In 2013 Uganda also launched a zero tolerance campaign on SGBV, but close to 0.03% of the country's gross domestic product (estimated at $ 21.49 billion in 2013) is lost to treating cases that emanate from the violence and the other incapacitations because a woman or man has domestically been battered.

Nathan Byamukama, the director at the regional training facility, called for focus on perpetrators of the SGBV than just the victims.

"Some of the aggressors need rehabilitation. A United Nations officer who assaults a seven year old in Central African Republic needs help...  (Refer to the report a French UN peace keeper in Central African Republic asked a seven year old to perform oral sex with him). If you go to Luzira (Maximum Security Prison), thousands of prisoners are held in relation to rape and defilement," he said.

Julius Kivuna, representing the foreign affairs ministry permanent secretary, called for men involvement in eliminating female genital mutilation and stopping child marriages and domestic violence.

He said government prioritized the campaign to end SGBV and that specifically the gender ministry had programmes running to end the violations.  

"We recognize the role of CSOs (civil society organizations) and other actors including the private sector to collectively address the SGBV challenge in the Great Lakes Region" he said.

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