East Africa

Punish men impregnating girls: Ugandan activists


Summary

  • Data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) indicate that about 354,736 teenage pregnancies in Uganda were registered in 2020 while 196,499 were recorded in the first six months of 2021.
  • The rights campaigners also criticised those who support barring teen mothers from returning to study at church-affiliated schools.
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By DAILY MONITOR


The Ugandan government should severely punish all men impregnating girls to make them accountable for the rape, Ugandan activists have said.

Severe punishment could deter others from raping girls and help to stop the cycle of sexual abuse, they told journalists in Kampala on Wednesday.

“They should learn that if they defile or rape girls, then they must serve some kind of punishment, including going to prison,” Ms Diana Nansumba, a programme officer at CEDOVIP, said. 

“The girls also get some kind of relief once these perpetrators are put behind bars.”

The campaigners included representatives from the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP), United Nations (UN) Women, Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and Plan International Uganda.

Their demand comes amid reports on increased cases of sexual abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) indicate that about 354,736 teenage pregnancies in Uganda were registered in 2020 while 196,499 were recorded in the first six months of 2021.

Mr Moses Ntenga, the executive director at Joy for Children Uganda, condemned fathers who sexually abuse their daughters.

“Awareness should first be created in communities and encourage people, including relatives, to raise alarm once they suspect anything fishy happening their societies,” he said.

Statistics from the Ministry of Gender indicate that among the 1,682 defilement cases reported in 2020 through the child helpline services, 200 were of fathers abusing their daughters.

Ms Sheila Ayot Nyoko, the communications officer at Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), said that the Justice, Law and Order (JLOs) sector needs to ensure that prosecution is done in a timely manner and that victims get justice. 

The rights campaigners also criticised those who support barring teen mothers from returning to study at church-affiliated schools.

“We are disappointed in the religious leaders and school administrators who have refused to adhere to the government directives (of allowing pregnant girls or those who have given birth to return for studies),” Ms Grace Namataka, the national advocacy officer at CEDOVIP, said.

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