Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The European Union (EU) heads of mission in Uganda have appealed to government to establish special courts on Gender-based violence.
The envoys who on Thursday concluded their four-day retreat in Eastern Uganda told Journalists that Gender-based violence, early marriages and Female Genital Mutilation continue to inflict severe pain on communities despite laws being in place.
Dr. Roswitha Kremser, the Head of Office of Austrian Development Agency, said that they observed a dire situation of women in particular citing testimonies about the continued existence of female genital mutilation, lack of access to land, gender based violence and others.
Roswitha cited the need to establish special courts for cases on Gender Based Violence.
The Ambassador of Italy Massimiliano Mazzanti also said that it was unfortunate that the Eastern region is leading in Gender Based Violence and teenage pregnancies.
His Belgium counterpart Rudi Veestraeten said that it was disappointing that there are proper laws prohibiting violence and Female Genital Mutilation but the practices continue to inflict pain on women and the girl child.
He expressed displeasure against local politicians whom he said continue to keep silent against the practices for fear of losing votes.
France Ambassador Jules-Armand Aniambossou said that he was disappointed with the negative tradition in the Eastern region especially the tradition of forced child marriages, gender based violence.
He emphasized the need to ensure proper girl child education and respect for women rights by government. Jules-Armand also noted that they will have to come up with proposals to ensure changes in the negative traditions against the girl child and women.
Swedish Ambassador, Per Lingarde also noted that the prevalence of gender based violence, child marriages and female genital mutilation was the most striking issue for him during the four-day retreat. He appealed for more funding to uplift the standards of health and education in the Eastern region so that negative practices like these are eliminated.
The Head of the European Union delegation in Uganda Atillio Pacifici said that traditions are important since they give a sense of belonging but noted that some of the traditions lock communities into the past.
He said that in a world changing so fast, it is not fair that girls go through practices like forced marriages which infringe on their rights. Pacifici noted that their position on the matter should not be interpreted as meddling since they ought to speak out.