KAMPALA– A group of youth activists led by Miss World Africa, Quinn Abenakyo have requested Parliament through the Speaker to accelerate the passing of the Sexual Offences Bill to control child marriages.
Speaking at the launch of a girls’ empowerment campaign dubbed #GirlsGetEqual that seeks to foster rights and equal treatment of the girl child in Uganda that was initiated by an NGO – Plan Uganda at Hotel Africana. The event was held on Friday 14 June.
“We want a national law that criminalizes child marriage because it is the topmost challenge that girls in the eastern region are facing,” read the petition in part.
Activists from districts of Kamuli, Buyende, Tororo, Kamuli, Lira, Adjumani and Yumbe also tasked Kadaga to urge the government to review the current secondary school policy in order to offer free education for child mothers.
“This policy should promote formal exit and re-entry for child mothers after they have delivered,” read the petition.
They added that they were concerned by the intensifying cases of sexual slavery of Ugandan girls in the Middle East and appealed to the government to investigate labour export companies.
They also asked the government to ban artiste Fik Fameika’s “my woman my property” song that they claim lowers women’s dignity to a mere property in society.
Hon. Kadaga responded by saying she was equally disturbed by cases of child marriage in her constituency -Kamuli District where Local Council (LC) Chairpersons attend weddings of young girls below 18 years of age.
“We shall now arrest whoever we find at such a wedding,” said Kadaga.
She added that parliament nearly passed the sexual offenses bill in the last session however they got other issues to address.
“Parliament is progressing well on the Sexual Offences Bill and it will address sexual and gender-based violence suffered by girls and women” she assured them.
Plan Uganda is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) that advocates for children’s rights and equality for girls by working together with children, young people, and the NGO’s prospective supporters and partners.