Human Rights Day 2023: 59 Percent Of Ugandan Women Sexually Abused

Human Rights Day 2023: 59 Percent Of Ugandan Women Sexually Abused

Human Rights Day 2023: 59 Percent Of Ugandan Women Sexually Abused

By Tshepo Tlhacoane, South Africa

On Sunday 10 December 2023, the PLATFORM for the NEEDY (PLANE) joins human rights defenders and advocates worldwide in commemorating Human Rights Day. Human Rights Day is a day where we reflect on the progress made in promoting human rights and highlight the challenges that persist. This day is also used to honour individuals and organizations which work tirelessly to protect and advocate for the promotion of human rights.

This year’s Human Rights Day marks the 75-year anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite the progress made to protect human rights in that time, human rights around the world and in Uganda are either under constant attack or remain unrealized.

In 2023, the Anti-Homosexuality Act came into force in Uganda and brought with it imprisonment for life for those who are convicted of the offence of homosexuality. This law also imposes imprisonment for up to three years for children who are found guilty of the offence of homosexuality. This law directly contravenes multiple rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and multiple human rights treaties, including the right to equality before the law, the right to have your dignity respected, and the right to liberty and security as a person.

Despite the Constitution of Uganda making a commitment to enhance the welfare of women by providing them with facilities and opportunities to reach their full potential and advancement, their remains a gap between policy and practice. This is evident in the gender gaps in health and education, economic and property rights, and participation in leadership (Oxfam).

Grace Kengozi speaking during the community dialogue in Kicwamaba sub county

In addition to the above, women and girls in Uganda are subjected to gender-based violence at an alarming rate. 56% of married women between 15 and 49 (2020) reported that they had suffered physical and sexual violence by their husbands, and 59% of women reported that they experienced sexual abuse in childhood. We call on the government of Uganda to continue to implement programmes that will not only prevent women and girls from being victims of GBV and other abuses, but to also implement policies that will allow women and girls to reach their full potential in society.

Children’s rights in Uganda are also worthy of discussion. Children in Uganda suffer numerous impediments which not only impede their personal development and the realization of their potential, they also have a negative impact on society as a whole. Some relevant statistics are:

  • 49 out of 1000 children in Uganda die before their fifth birthday.
  • 29% of children in Uganda suffer from stunting due to malnutrition.
  • 16% of children in Uganda engage in child labour.
  • Teenage pregnancy in Uganda stands at 28%, the highest in east Africa.
  • 1 in 4 women and girls between 15 and 19 have given birth before turning 18, with 34% of girls being married before the age of 18.

To combat this, we at PLANE provided children with food in order to promote their physical and mental development; we provided children with scholastic materials such as books and uniforms so that they can attend school. We have also created awareness on issues of defilement, child marriages, and teenage pregnancy. Here, radio messages, radio dramas, and talk shows were aired in local languages on 3 radio stations which we partner with, which reached an audience of 6.5 million people in western, mid-western, and south-western Uganda.

The above are just some of the initiatives that PLANE runs in order to protect the rights of women and children in Uganda. To reach our goal of protecting human rights requires a collective effort from governments, organizations, and individuals. If you would like to contribute to our work, you can click on the ‘donate’ tab above.

 

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