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Gov’t moves to tighten law on GBV

Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa has said that government is in the process of enacting tougher legislation to curb sexual offenses in the country.

Tayebwa indicated that the new law will be jointly considered with the ongoing bail reforms that the government is currently reviewing.

He was speaking on Thursday in Parliament in a meeting with the Women in Development fraternity from the Lango sub-region.

Tayebwa said that the government has considered toughening legislation on bail because offenders are exploiting some loopholes to continuously assault young girls. He added that the government is determined on ending SGBV and now seeks support from lawmakers to support the reforms.

Tayebwa also revealed that government would reign in on cultural norms that shield sexual offenders by introducing legislation.

Meanwhile, the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) has expressed dissatisfaction with how the government has handled the high numbers of girls facing Female Genital Mutilation-FGM.

The MPs who addressed the press on Thursday in Parliament to mark the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence are also concerned about the increasing number of gender-based violence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.

The Vice-chairperson of UWOPA who also doubles as Luwero District Woman MP, Brenda Nabukenya noted that they are going to use the 16 days to continue spreading awareness on FGM, but also involve men in the fight against gender-based violence.

Grace Namataha from the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention noted that violence against the girl child is high at 59% for young females before 19 years, and that child marriage is also high where 34% of women 20-24 years were married before the age of 18 years.

Namata also revealed that female genital mutilation is still high in the districts of Kapchowra and Moroto with 13% and 52% of girls and women aged 15-49 years respectively subjected to female genital mutilation.

Goretti Namugga, the Woman MP Mawogola and chairperson UWOPA in the central region asked the government to increase financing activities aimed at curbing GBV, prevention, and response interventions across all sectors.



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