Breaking

Need to End Child Marriages Dominates Discussions at EU Envoys Retreat

The envoys are in the region as part of their 4-day retreat, which aims to track progress on infrastructural and socio-economic projects that are funded by the European Union and member states. The retreat started on Monday at Mt. Elgon Hotel, Mbale.
European Union Envoys pose for a picture with different human rights activits in Eastern Uganda.

Audio 5

Child marriages, the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other human rights violations in Eastern Uganda have dominated discussions between leaders in Eastern Uganda and European Union Ambassadors.  

The envoys are in the region as part of their 4-day retreat, which aims to track progress on infrastructural and socio-economic projects that are funded by the European Union and member states. The retreat started on Monday at Mt. Elgon Hotel, Mbale. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the retreat, the Irish Ambassador to Uganda William Carlos said that it was important for Uganda to pay more attention to protecting the rights of girls and women especially fighting cultural practices that stop the girl child from accessing Education. 

“Access to health services by women, ownership of property, speedy access to justice in courts of law by the minority groups continue to be a challenge although there is no perfect scenario,” he added. 

Ambassador Carlos said The Ambassadors address followed a closed-door meeting with the regional Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) official, Mbale NGO Forum, Kapchorwa Civil Society Organization Alliance (KASCOA) and other human rights defenders in Eastern Uganda.  

He added that they are looking for more ways to help communities like in Eastern Uganda where human rights are severely abused through social evils that deprive humans of their dignity.   

//Cue in; “the discrimination that…  

Cue out…. for being here.”//    

Sarah Nakhumitsa, the UHRC Regional Human Rights Officer-Soroti told URN that child and forced marriages continue coupled with delayed justice in Courts continue to be serious challenges for the population in Eastern Uganda.   

Nakhumitsa cited a need for more Judicial officials to handle the several cases of human rights violations in the areas of Bugisu and Sebei, among others.   

//Cue in; “in this region… 

Cue out…of accessing it.”//`    

She also pointed out Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as one of the cultural practices that were at the centre of discussions with the European Union envoys.  

“Cultural relativism; people continue to cherish Female Genital Mutilation even after government outlawed the practice. It is a big challenge because communities think we are against their culture,” she said, and observed a need for educating the communities practicing FGM to appreciate its effects so that to stop the vice. 

//Cue in; “but in as…  

Cue out…violate their rights.”//    

The Head of Office of the Austrian Development Agency, Dr. Roswitha Kremser cited a need for them to work more with communities where child marriages and other human rights violations happen to understand their challenges in order to offer the necessary support. 

//Cue in; “early child marriages… 

Cue out…from them today.”// 

According to the UN Children's agency - UNICEF Uganda is among the 15 worst African can countries with high numbers of child brides.  

Child marriage in Uganda stands at 49 percent more than the average 39 percent across Africa. Child marriages occur when people below 18-years-of age including both girls and boys choose to get married. However, this mostly affects girls.

Images 1

Keywords