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Saturday Monitor - December 3, 2011

by Risdel Kasasira

Head of states from the Great Lakes Region are primed to deliberate mechanisms to end gender-based sexual violence, including Femal Genital Mutilation when they meet in Kampala on December 15.

State minister for Gender Rukia Nakadama told journalists at Foreign Affairs ministry yesterday that the likely resolutions of the meeting will require International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) member States to enact laws to stop gender-based sexual violence.

Some of the laws, Ms Nakadama said, would help to reduce vices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which is a cultural practice in the some societies in the region.
“This dangerous vice is practiced in many countries in this region. We therefore encourage member States to put in place laws that will put an end to this backward practice,” she said.

Ms Nakadama and State minister for International Affairs Okello Oryem had earlier held a meeting with ambassadors in Uganda to brief them on the preparations of the conference.

According to Amnesty International, domestic violence is a major problem in the region, with DR Congo leading with the highest cases in the world. Amnesty International statistics released last year estimate as many as 400,000 surviving rape victims are living in the DR Congo.

Museveni to assume chair
In Uganda, 68 per cent of married women aged between 15 and 49 have experienced some form of violence inflicted by their spouse or intimate partner, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics said in their 2007 annual report.

Often, women are reluctant to file complaints for fear of reprisal, embarrassment, poverty, and ignorance of the law or not knowing where to report abuse.
During the conference, President Museveni is also expected to assume the chair of ICGLR from newly-elected Zambian leader Michael Sata and South Sudan will also be admitted as a new member.

The member states include Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, DR Congo, Tanzania and Sudan.
Mr Oryem said the meeting will also discuss security situation in the region, with the focus on negative elements in DR Congo and LRA rebel activities in Central African Republic.

The two-day conference will be preceded by the First Ladies’ Summit on December 11.

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