The Observer (Kampala)

12 December 2012

Uganda: Women Activists Decry Officials' Indifference

Civil society organisations have urged the government to comprehensively implement all legal instruments in place to end domestic violence and discrimination.

The call came to the fore at the launch of the National Action Plan (NAP) for monitoring implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1325, 1820 and the Goma Declaration report at Imperial Royale Hotel last week. The CSOs complained about the laws that do not seem to bite.

"Uganda is quick at assenting to international conventions and yet so slow when it comes to the implementation stage," said Ruth Ojambo-Ochieng, ISIS-WICCE Executive Director.

UN resolution 1325 stresses the equal access and full participation of women in power structures and in all efforts geared toward peace and security while 1820 re-emphasises UN commitment to the Beijing Platform for Action, where governments and international organisations were urged to identify and condemn rape and other forms of inhumane treatment toward women and girls.

Consequently the Centre for Women in Governance (CEWIGO) has joined other CSOs in demanding that the government put up mechanisms to implement the National Action Plan on popularising gender in its activities. A CEWIGO report has shown that although Uganda boasts one of the most gender-sensitive constitutions in the world, many government technocrats do not appreciate gender issues, especially in the allocation of resources.

"Government has to understand that gender-based violence is not only an abuse of human rights but it dis-empowers women and retards development," said Dr Miria Matembe, founding member of CEWIGO.

According to CEWIGO Executive Director, Robinah Rubimbwa, only Dokolo district has an action plan for implementing UN resolution 1325 out of over 112 districts of Uganda. The report shows that majority of law enforcement officers, including the police, local councils, health workers and community development officers, are not trained in gender-based violence prevention.

However, Police Spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said the force had set up a sexual offences unit and also redesigned the Police Form III in an effort to ease victims' pursuit of justice. Form III is used in the medical examination of victims of assault and sexual offences before prosecution can commence.

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