Uganda: Govt Raises Alarm Over Rise in Female Genital Mutilation

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has raised a red flag over the increasing cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) from 0.3 percent to 52 percent during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The revelation comes two days ahead of the 16 days of activism campaign against gender-based violence (GBV) .

Addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala yesterday, Ms Peace Mutuuzo, the minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, said the pandemic and the associated control measures created a lot of anxiety, stress and hardships for many families.

“Covid-19 has worsened all the risk factors for violence against women and girls, including unemployment and poverty and reinforced many of the root causes such as gender stereotypes and harmful social norms,” Ms Mutuuzo said.

She added that the government is worried about the resurgence of FGM, which is on the rise in Kapchorwa District, and in Karamajo Sub-region.

Ms Mutuuzo said the Covid-19 rapid gender assessment by the government indicates that 13 percent of girls and 52 percent of women aged between 15 and 49 years are being subjected to FGM in the affected districts.

The minister also reported other forms of gender-based violence against both girls and women, including sexual violence, child marriage, physical violence, and defilement, among others.

Ms Mutuuzo said the government is dedicating the 16 days of activism to protect girls and women from such vices.

Government has lined up a number of activities to mark the 30th anniversary of the campaign which kicks off tomorrow and will go on until December 10.

The national launch for this year’s campaign will be held at Amagi Primary School in Kamdini Sub-county, Oyam District, under the theme “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women and Girls Now!”

“The campaign is taking place amid escalating cases of GBV countrywide, which calls for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to end violence against women and girls,” Ms Mutuunzo said.

Governments use the campaign to raise awareness on gender-based violence , provide a forum for dialogue and develop a strategy for sharing good practices for preventing and responding to GBV, strengthen local initiatives and networks to address as well as advocate for action, among others.

Meanwhile, the State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Ms Sarah Mateke, also noted increased cases of violence against children.

Ms Mateke said the government received at least 4,498 cases of violence against children between January to September this year.

“This is saddening, especially as children have been home for the past two years. It shows that many homes are not safe for children and more needs to be done to equip parents and caregivers to protect their children,” she said.

According to figures from last year, the government reported 5,558 cases of violence during the closure of schools in March.

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development in partnership with the European Union yesterday launched the Sauti 116 awareness campaign to end violence against children.

Ms Mateke said children with access to phones, and responsible citizens will report cases committed against the youngsters in their communities.

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