KAMPALA – The Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Amongi Betty Ongom has this morning met with the United Nations Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator on improving the UN response to sexual exploitation and abuse, Mr. Christian Saunders, during which they discussed ways to strengthen programs aimed at ending sexual abuse.
In the meeting held at the Ministry offices in Kampala, Saunders emphasized the importance of targeting men and boys in the campaign against sexual violence, recognizing their potential to make significant contributions in eradicating this vice. He also stressed the value of involving champions from sports and creative sectors to lend their voices to the campaign against sexual exploitation and abuse.
Saunders further challenged the Ugandan government, as a contributor to regional peacekeeping missions, to ensure that Ugandans deployed outside the country adhere to the policy against sexual exploitation and abuse.
“It’s important that we don’t turn into exploiters of the people we are supposed to be helping,” He said while acknowledging the UN’s efforts to address reports of sexual exploitation involving its members worldwide.
In response, Minister Amongi highlighted Uganda’s strong policy and legal frameworks prohibiting sexual violence across various strata of society. She emphasized Uganda’s commitment to ending sexual violence, demonstrated by its participation in global and regional coalitions against violence through signing various conventions.
She said that besides the laws and policies in place to protect women and girls in communities, Government has also just ratified Convention number 190 that focuses on eliminating violence and harassment in the workplace. She revealed that the ratified convention would be deposited at the UN headquarters on August 7, 2023, followed by domestication efforts.
She added that Uganda was also signing Bilateral Labour Agreements with other States where Ugandans work to ensure their overall safety.
Amongi noted that poverty is a key facilitator of sexual exploitation and abuse and as such, government is running a number of livelihood programmes with the most current being the Parish Development Model to improve incomes within the populace.
On the topic of male engagement, Amongi revealed the existence of a Male Engagement strategy within the Ministry and stressed the need to reinforce its implementation at both the national and subnational levels to encourage greater involvement of men and boys in the campaign.
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, Mutuuzo Peace Regis, the UN Resident Coordinator, H.E. Susan Ngongi Namondo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Dr. Aggrey David Kibenge, the Director of Labour, Mr. Martin Wandera, and the Commissioner of Gender and Women Affairs, Dr. Angela Nakafeero.