The meeting discussed ways and means of addressing sexual and gender based violence at the work place and the vice of trafficking in persons
International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) member states, have been tasked to honour their commitments towards elimination of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).
The ICGLR - Regional Training Facility (RTF) in Kampala has expressed concern that states were falling short on their obligations bid by their own protocols and international statutes to fight the crime.
The Regional Training Facility (RTF) was established under Article 6(9) of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children (2006).
Member states agreed to set up a special regional facility for training and sensitising judicial officers, Police units, social workers, medical officers and other categories of persons who handle cases of sexual violence in the Great Lakes Region.
At a meeting attended by media practitioners, teachers and other members of the private sector such as hotel operators, co-hosted by ICGLR - RTF and Association of Ugandan Women Lawyers - FIDA at the facility conference hall in Munyonyo in Kampala on Thursday, the regional director of ICGLR - RTF, Nathan Mwesigye Byamukama, said the crime was instead shoring upwards.
The meeting discussed ways and means of addressing sexual and gender based violence at the work place and the vice of trafficking in persons.
Mwesigye disclosed that in some member countries SGBV crimes were over 65% of the reported cases.
In Article 6 of the protocol on the prevention and suppression of sexual violence against women and children signed on November 30 2006, member states expressed deep concern over sexual violence and the exploitation of women and girls and their use as sexual slaves.
Member states committed themselves to among other things, regional mechanisms aimed at providing legal assistance to women and girls who are victims and survivors of rape as well as other acts of sexual violence and exploitation.
It also provided for regional efforts to provide medical, material and social assistance including counselling and compensation, to women and children who are victims and survivors of sexual violence in the region.
"Women and children were being violated both in situations of war and in situations of peace yet member states committed to fight the crime, they committed to prevent it, criminalize it and punish it," he said.
Mwesigye tasked the regional governments to act as soon as possible to establish coordinated networks to defeat human trafficking crime.
He added that the women and young girls were embarking on desperate decisions to look for what to do outside the region mainly in the Middle East because: "They are subjected to buses in the homes, communities and at work places."
The heads of state reiterated their commitment during the December 2011 summit at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in Kampala in their joint declaration.
The leaders recognised the severe impact of SGBV on the individuals, families, communities and states clustering it a threat to development and the security of the region.
Human resource and administrative officer of the Association of Ugandan Women Lawyers - FIDA, Elizabeth Sarah Nabitiko, used the occasion to advocate for the workers' rights adding that employment should be made more favourable for women to avoid desperate decisions of them flying out of the country to Middle to look for survival.
She added that women should be granted their rights such as the right to leave, paternity and maternity leave, freedom from sexual harassment, non-discrimination, equal pay for equal work, just and favourable conditions.
Nabitiko called for the effectiveness of labour offices, the Industrial court, Courts of law, Human Rights Commission, Centre for Arbitration and dispute Resolution and other intra-organisation mechanisms when it comes to protection of women labour rights.
Other relevant International instruments and mechanisms against the crime include UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (1979), the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and UNITE campaign to end violence against women and girls.