Dear Reader, Herein, I bring to you a copy of press statement released by Refugee Law Project on March 8, 2021, as the world held its 44th commemoration since the UN officially recognised International Women's Day (IWD) in 1977 to recognise achievements in the struggle for women's empowerment and gender equality. Since the historic UN Security Council Resolution of the 32nd regular session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1977, March 8 has become an important day in modern history when it comes to the struggle for gender justice. From its first commemoration in Uganda in 1984 (pioneered by then first lady Miria Obote) IWD has evolved considerably.
In the statement to mark the occasion, RLP asked the question; What if we responded to sexual violence in conflict as an existential threat? The press statement took a critical look at what the national and international response to COVID-19 has taught us thus far about our collective potential to end sexual violence in conflict. If we can mobilise the resources and will to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, if we can close airports and public transport to better control the virus, couldn’t we do the same to better control sexual violence in conflict? While COVID-19 has directly harmed our capacity to respond to survivor needs in the short term, it has also made clear that to eliminate sexual violence in conflict we need a sea change in how it is perceived. We need to see it as the existential threat it undoubtedly is, and invest time, effort and resources correspondingly.
Children come into contact with the justice system for various reasons. The 2019 Situation Analysis on Children in Uganda shows that 27% of children have been exposed to a crime. Despite the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) position that ‘putting children in prison should only be the last resort and for the shortest time possible’, there are children in many of Uganda’s detention facilities. Whereas many children come into contact with the law, many more suffer at the handsof adult abusers. UNICEF’s 2018 situation analysis shows that 44 percent of girls and 59 percent of boys aged 13-17 years had experienced physical violence in 2018. The outbreak of COVID-19 has further heightened the challenges as reporting and response mechanisms are temporarily affected.
Uganda Counselling Association (UCA) is pleased to invite you to the Annual Conference that will take place from March 25-27, 2020 at Silver Springs, Hotel, Bugolobi, Kampala and AGM on March 27, 2020.