Uganda

Uganda: Properly investigate and prosecute cases of sexual violence against the disabled

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Nov 12
Update Date: 
2013 Mar 19
Update: 

UPDATE 19 MARCH 2013: The remaining suspect in the case, who had run away, was found dead in early 2013. However, Equality Now is calling for DNA testing of his body at the government’s expense without delay.


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What You Can Do: 

Contact the Ugandan Government and urge them to:

  1. Conduct DNA testing on the body of the remaining suspect at the government’s expense without delay.
  2. Ensure that all relevant investigative techniques, including DNA testing, are promptly carried out in cases of sexual violence, and in particular, those concerning disabled victims.

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Letters should be addressed to:

Richard Buteera
Director of Public Prosecutions
Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
P.O. Box 1550
Kampala, Uganda
Phone: +256-414-332-501 - 7
Fax: +256-414-251-951

Hon. Chief Justice Benjamin Joseph Odoki,
Chief Justice of Uganda
The Judiciary Courts of Judicature
High Court Building
Box 7085
Kampala, Uganda
Phone: +256-414-341-116
Email: bodoki@judicature.go.ug

Lady Justice Alice E. Mpagi-Bahigeine
Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda
The Judiciary Courts of Judicature
High Court Building
Box 7085
Kampala, Uganda
Email: ampagi@judicature.go.ug

Letters: 

Dear Mr./Hon. Chief Justice/Lady Justice

I am deeply concerned about the Ugandan government’s inaction in protecting disabled sexual violence victims and the lack of additional steps to investigate crimes against them that would ensure swift justice. A case in point is Sanyu, a 13-year-old blind, deaf and mute Ugandan girl, who was raped and became pregnant as a result but was unable to communicate the identity of her rapist due to her condition. Sanyu’s mother and Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities - Uganda (LAPD) called for DNA testing of Sanyu’s father, three brothers (the only males who had access to her) and the baby to establish paternity, but the Government Analytical Laboratory - Wandegya did not respond to  the official request and the police closed the case.

Upon learning about the case, international human rights organization Equality Now successfully raised funds for DNA testing in 2011 and with the assistance of LAPD, had the case reopened. DNA samples were taken from three of the four suspects (one brother had run away) on 24 August 2011 (four years after the rape) and sent to the Government chemist for testing, as is required for trial admissibility. The DNA testing languished for over a year and when finally received, the results showed that the baby’s father was genetically of the same paternal line, though none of the three tested were the father of Sanyu’s baby. To our knowledge no effort has been made by the police to apprehend and test the remaining suspect. Along with Equality Now and LAPD, I am seriously disturbed by the lack of a thorough investigation and the five year delay in justice for Sanyu, who is now 18. I support the call for improved legal procedures in cases of sexual violence, and for additional steps to be taken to help disabled victims.

Sexual violence is widespread in Uganda and disabled women and girls such as Sanyu are particularly vulnerable. The Constitution of Uganda and The Persons with Disabilities Act, 2006 upholds the rights of people with disabilities and provide for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and toward equal opportunities for them. However, the government does not take additional steps to facilitate justice for disabled victims of sexual violence such as Sanyu by making provision for investigative techniques that would facilitate the process and this leads to further victimization.

The Government of Uganda has ratified a number of regional and international human rights instruments that provide for the rights of persons with disabilities, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), The Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Protocol) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In addition, Uganda has ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which in its General Recommendation No. 18 calls on States to report on special measures taken to deal with the particular situation of women with disabilities.

In order to make sure that Sanyu and girls in similar situations get justice, Uganda must live up to its domestic and international obligations and take additional steps to improve the investigation process and prosecution rate in sexual violence cases involving disabled victims. In particular I urge you to ensure that DNA testing of the remaining suspect is conducted at government expense without delay. Please ensure that all relevant investigative techniques, including DNA testing, are promptly carried out in cases of sexual violence, and in particular, those concerning disabled victims.

Thank you for your attention.
Sincerely

Uganda: Exclusion of Women from Land Ownership—The “Lost Clause”

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 Nov 1

The Land (Amendment) Act came into force on 18 March 2004, signaling important progress toward women’s equality. In August 2000, Equality Now issued Women’s Action 17.1 calling for an amendment to the Ugandan Land Act 1998 that would provide for co-ownership of land between spouses.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President and the Minister for Water, Land and Environment as set out below. Congratulate them on the important amendments to Ugandan law, which provide for security of occupancy of land. Encourage them to continue with reforms that would ensure the equal rights of men and women in Uganda in all spheres, including land ownership.

His Excellency Yoweri Museveni
President of Uganda
Parliamentary Building
P.O. Box 7168
Kampala, UGANDA
Fax: +256-41-235459/244012

The Honorable Col. Kahinda Otafiire
Minister for Water, Land and Environment
P.O. Box 7096
Kampala, UGANDA
Fax: +256-41-230891
Email: mwle@mwle.go.ug

Uganda: Exclusion of Women from Land Ownership—The "Lost Clause"

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2000 Aug 1

Women demonstratingFor over 38 years Mariam Namayanja Kabeere lived with her husband in a small house in Kakoba, Uganda. As farmers, they worked a small plot of land, called a kibanja, for their livelihood and raised six children. When Mariam's husband married another woman (polygamy is legal in Uganda under Islamic law or if the couple is married under customary law), he built his new wife a house on the kibanja and barred Mariam from the property.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President and the following officials. Call on them to publicly support and ensure swift passage of the co-ownership amendment to the Land Act. Cite the Ugandan Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter, all of which mandate the Ugandan government to eliminate discrimination against women and to promote women's rights. Note the gross gender disparity in land ownership in contrast with the disproportionate contribution of women to the agricultural sector, and the need for women's increased security of land tenure. Cite the case of Mariam Kabeere, a women who was forced off her land and is now being forced out of her home after 38 years. This is a violation of Mariam's human rights, which the co-ownership amendment would remedy.

His Excellency Yoweri Museveni
President of Uganda
Parliamentary Building
P.O. Box 7168
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-41-254881-8
Fax: +256-41-235459/244012

Hon. Edward Sekandi
Speaker of the Parliament
Parliament Avenue
P.O. Box 7178
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-41-341038/346806
Fax: 256-41-231296/347826
Email: speaker@parliament.go.ug

Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda
Minister for Water, Land, and Environment
P.O. Box 7122
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-41-342931-3 or 358191
Fax: +256-41-230891
Email: rugunda@parliament.go.ug

Hon. Hilary Onek
Chair, Parliamentary Committee
on Water, Land & Environment
P.O. Box 7178
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-41-251601
Fax: +256-41-346826
Email: honek@parliament.go.ug

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