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Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) with support from European Union (EU) under project titled, “Empowering the formal and informal justice systems to handle and respond to Gender Based Violence (GBV)” convened a Community Dialogue with Justice Actors and Local Government leaders at Kayunga District Headquarters.

The Invited guests and selected participants posing for a group photo during the dialogue at Kayunga district headquarters

Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) with support from European Union (EU) under project titled, “Empowering the formal and informal justice systems to handle and respond to Gender Based Violence (GBV)” convened a Community Dialogue with Justice Actors and Local Government leaders at Kayunga District Headquarters.

The function held on 1st October 2021 was graced by several dignitaries including H/W Sanula Namboozo, Grade One Magistrate; Mr. Ronald Mukoza, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Ms. Roseline Adongo, the Chief Administrative Officer Ahmed Matovu, the District Health Officer

In her introductory remarks, the Chief Executive Officer Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa noted that LASPNET has over the years worked closely with the justice actors to implement projects aimed at enhancing Access to Justice, rule of law and human rights especially for the poor and vulnerable persons.  Briefly she spoke about the European Union project which is a 2-year project titled focusing on elimination of GBV in Mukono; Kayunga and Buikwe.

According to Dr. Sylvia, Uganda has a robust legal frame work as a well a sound legal framework to respond to GBV however implementation remains dismal. She further mentioned that findings from the GBV Baseline survey revealed that an economically dis-empowered citizenry is extremely vulnerable to effects of GBV and economic inequality hence the need for economic empowerment programmes

The CEO of LASPNET, Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa giving her introductory remarks at the function

She echoed the increased GBV cases manifesting in form of domestic violence, rape, defilement and child related offences such as early marriages as a result of Covid-19 thus called upon stakeholders to join hands and fight the vice.

Mr. Ronald Mukooza, the Deputy RDC of Kayunga appreciated LASPNET for considering to implement the GBV Campaign in Kayunga district. He thanked the project implementers for doing a baseline survey to shape the project interventions while emphasizing the need for more awareness raising on GBV especially in Sub counties such as Bbaale where the vice is more rampant.

“GBV leads to trauma and causing hatred amongst people and becoming hopeless. COVID 19 has increased the cases of GBV in Kayunga. I call upon the religious leaders, teachers and other stakeholders to work together to reduce GBV” he said.  

As he concluded his remarks, he acknowledged the issue of economic empowerment as advanced by Dr. Sylvia. He therefore called upon the community members to engage in government programs such as the parish development model and ‘’emyooga’’ a presidential wealth creation initiative that is aimed at eradication of poverty in communities. Additionally, he urged the police to be more approachable so that communities feel comfortable in talking about issues that directly affect them as well as encouraging people to avoid creating situations that lead to GBV in families.

On behalf of Police, ASP Paul Ssali encouraged men to also go to the police and report GBV cases meted against them by their partners since men do face GBV just as women do.

“Defilement is the worst form of sexual violence against children in Kayunga district, there are so many cases of defilement that are being reported on the gender desk, Kayunga district prison has 5 out of 9 suspects that are reprimanded for defilement and rape. The worst-case scenario is when such cases do happen in communities, the community leaders decide to settle them amicably with the perpetrators without approaching the right authorities” he revealed.

Ms. Christine Kalya Byamugisha, a State Attorney revealed that the district is faced with numerous cases of child neglect especially women who move into another marriage with children, children threatening their parents because of property inheritance, inter meddling in land issues and many other unrecorded cases. She therefore called upon LASPs to support the communities in resolving such simple disputes in order to reduce on case backlog often experienced by the formal justice institutions.

H/W Nambozo Sanula, the Grade One Magistrate of Kayunga, also remarked that Gender-Based Violence is deeply rooted in gender inequality, and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations within all societies. “Gender-based violence is directed against a person because of their gender, both women and men experience gender-based violence but the majority of victims are women and girls It is therefore not surprising that whenever GBV is mentioned, what comes to everybody's mind is violence against women. So, using the 'gender-based' aspect is important as it highlights the fact that many forms of violence against women are rooted in power relations between women and men” she explained.

While closing the dialogue on behalf of the LC5 chairman, the district woman counsellor of Kitimbwa Sub- County Ms. Namukose Fatumah condemned parents who discern the girl child that gets pregnant while still at home and at an early age. She gave an example of her own daughter whom she neglected out of anger after getting pregnant while at school. However, after being cajoled by concerned people, her daughter went back to school and graduated in Social Work and Social Administration.

She concluded by encouraging parents to always give a second chance to young impregnated girls by taking them back to school instead of subjecting them to child neglect.

The Community Dialogue in Kayunga district was successful and well attended by both the key dignitaries and general public who were sensitized on human rights and legal information

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