The Assistant Commissioner for Equity and Rights in the Ministry of Gender, Dr. Jane Nakyanzi Ekapu has urged Parliament to review the continuous sexual violence reports and take action.
Dr. Nakyanzi was on Friday speaking during a seminar for Parliament staff on the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence. The seminar was organized by Parliament’s Corporate Planning and Strategy (CPS) Department.
The 16 Days of Activism is an annual international campaign observed from 25th November to 10th December 2022 to raise awareness among the population on the dangers of gender-based violence.
In her statement, she commended Parliament’s efforts towards elimination of Gender Based Violence (GBV), but urged the institution’s leadership to review the reports on sexual violence whose rates have increased, as per the 2021 study by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) on GBV and Police Crime reports.
“The national survey by UBOS indicated that 95 percent of respondents had experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15. Prevalence of intimate partner sexual violence was at 36 percent. I think staff of Parliament need to speak to political leaders to find a way of making sexual violence even among married people punishable, some one knows they are infected with HIV but insist on sleeping with their partner,” said Dr. Nakyanzi.
The study also revealed that 55 percent people suffered sexual violence by non-partners, out of which 14 percent was perpetuated by relatives. UBOS also reported that 47 percent women face economic violence through denial of work while 55 percent face emotional violence.
On the other hand, last year’s Police Crime report indicated that 16,244 cases of GBV were recorded and out of these 6838 cases of defilement, 749 cases of rape, 223 aggravated domestic violence leading to death, 144 cases of indecent assault, and 39 child abductions.
Dr. Nakyanzi said that it is important to continue creating awareness about Gender Based Violence at places of work, in communities and other places to influence behavioral change and secure high level political commitment towards the fight against gender based violence.
Moses Bisase, Parliament’s Director for Corporate Planning and Strategy (CPS) Department said that the institution was committed to the fight and revealed the establishment of a new division on gender mainstreaming and equity, which will complement the Legislative arm in the fight.
He said that in addition to the committees that handle gender related issues, Parliament has formed a gender focal group composed of staff from each of its 20 departments to champion elimination of GBV at department level.
According to Bisase, this will enable them pick gender related issues from each individual department and ensure they are handled timely.
Salome Anyote, a technical officer on gender and equity in the CPS department, said that the new arrangement will enable them engage Members of Parliament to popularize the key actions in their constituencies.
She added that the gender focal group is in the process of developing a gender strategic plan for Parliament, which will expound the existing gender policy that has unfortunately not been popularized among staff and MPs.
Anyote said there is good will and commitment from Parliament’s leadership to have Parliament be gender responsive beyond drafting legislations.