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Govt dragged to court over failure to provide shelter to sexually abused women and girls

Health Human Rights Activists have dragged the government to court for failing to provide shelters, refuge and psychosocial support to sexually abused women and girls (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Health Human Rights Activists have dragged the government to court accusing it of failing to put in place shelters, provide refuge and psychosocial support to sexually abused women and girls.

According to their petition filed before the Constitutional Court on August 20, 2018, Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), Mary Nnamala and Simon Kakeeto both survivors of sexual violence in Gomba District contend that survivors of sexual violence are not accorded equal justice before and under the law.

“Article 33(2) of the Constitution provides that the government shall provide the facilities and opportunities necessary to enhance the welfare of women to enable them to realize their full potential and advancement,” reads in part the petition.

Adding: “We contend that failure by the government to put in place shelters for psychosocial support and shelters for survivors of sexual violence is in contravention of this provision of the constitution”.

These now want government to provide a shelter near to health centres in each and every district where such survivors can seek help and counselling.

They are also challenging the unequal punishment that the law provides for sexual offenders as being unjust and discriminatory.

They argue that culprits charged with rape are liable to suffer a maximum penalty of death, but defilement suspects who abuse girls as young as 14-17 years walk away with only a few years in prison. They also want an order that government within two years or such reasonable time as the court may deem fit of passing the judgment in case, construct shelters for the provision of psychosocial support to survivors of sexual violence.

The activists want penalties for sexual offenders harmonized so that equal protection of survivors is achieved.

They also want an order that the attorney general reports to court on the steps taken to implement the orders sort for every six months or such other reasonable time.

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