Uganda (CEDAW 01-03-2022)
The Committee considered the combined eighth and ninth periodic reports of Uganda (CEDAW/C/UGA/8-9) at its 1858th and 1859th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.1858 and CEDAW/C/SR.1859), held on 11 February 2022. The list of issues and questions raised by the pre-sessional working group is contained in CEDAW/C/UGA/Q/8-9, and the responses of Uganda are contained in CEDAW/C/UGA/RQ/8-9.
E. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
- The Committee takes note of the measures undertaken by the State party to implement gender-responsive recovery strategies related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, including by developing and implementing the national gender-based violence multisectoral COVID-19 response plan, 2021/22–2024/25, and targeted measures to alleviate the negative economic and social effects of the pandemic on women and girls. Nevertheless, the Committee is concerned about the high prevalence of gender-based violence against women, including domestic violence, the longest shutdown of educational institutions globally due to the pandemic and the feminization of poverty, which disproportionately affects women and girls belonging to disadvantaged and marginalized groups, who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
- In line with its guidance note on the obligations of States parties to the Convention in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Implement measures to redress long-standing inequalities between women and men by placing women at the centre of COVID-19 recovery strategies, in accordance with the 2030 Agenda, paying particular attention to unemployed women, women living in poverty, women belonging to ethnic and national minority groups, indigenous women, women in humanitarian settings, older women, women with disabilities, migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons;
Gender-based violence against women
- The Committee takes note of the fact that the third national development plan, like its predecessors, prioritizes combating gender-based violence against women and that a national gender based violence database has been created, which is aimed at better informing strategies, policies and programmes to combat gender-based violence against women. The Committee is deeply concerned, however, that:
(a)Gender-based violence against women, including sexual violence and domestic violence, continues to be manifested throughout the entire life cycle of women and girls and that there is a high level of impunity for, and social acceptance of, such violence in Ugandan society;
- With reference to its general recommendation No. 35 (2017), and recalling its previous recommendation ( CEDAW/C/UGA/CO/7 , para. 24), the Committee urges the State party to:
(a) Intensify efforts to raise awareness among both women and men, including through educational and media campaigns, with the active participation of women’s organizations and women human rights defenders, of the criminal nature of gender-based violence against women, in order to challenge its social acceptance and to destigmatize and protect women from reprisals so as to encourage them to report incidents of gender-based violence against women, and of the specific risk of gender-based violence posed to women and girls facing intersecting forms of discrimination, such as lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women and girls, intersex persons, migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women and girls, women and girls with disabilities and women and girls with albinism;
Women human rights defenders and journalists
- The Committee takes note of the information provided by the State party that the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association and peaceful assembly are guaranteed under the Constitution. It is concerned, however, that the work of women human rights defenders and women journalists continues to be restricted and that they are often victims of arrest, physical, including sexual, assault, threats, intimidation, harassment and the freezing of assets. In that regard, it notes with concern that women human rights defenders advocating for the rights of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons are at particular risk, due to the ripple effects of the Anti Homosexuality Act of 2014, although it was struck down by the Constitutional Court.
- The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Ensure that women human rights defenders and journalists can freely carry out their legitimate activities and create an enabling environment for them to advocate for women’s human rights and exercise their democratic rights;
(b) Prevent discrimination against women human rights defenders and journalists, ensure their protection from violence and intimidation, investigate, prosecute and punish all abuses against them, including by public officials, and strictly enforce the Human Rights Enforcement Act;
(c) Amend provisions that unduly restrict funding to civil society organizations, including women’s organizations, in the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act of 2017, the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 and the Non Governmental Organizations Act of 2016 and consider enacting comprehensive legislation for the protection of civil society organizations, including those working with women human rights defenders and journalists, in conformity with the Convention.
- The Committee takes note of the fact that the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 2015 and the various strategies, policies and programmes for the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS embrace human rights principles, including non discrimination and gender-responsiveness. It also takes note of the establishment, in 2015, of a national menstrual health and hygiene coalition to mobilize resources for the provision of hygiene products to girls and separate sanitary facilities for them in rural and remote areas, indigenous and refugee communities and government-aided schools. The Committee is concerned about the following:
(c)The disproportionately high rates of HIV and AIDS among women and girls and their limited access to adequate treatment;
- With reference to its general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health, and recalling its previous recommendations ( CEDAW/C/UGA/CO/7 , paras. 36 and 38), the Committee recommends that the State party increase the proportion of the national budget allocated to health and:
(c) Continue to implement the national policy guidelines on ending HIV stigma and other strategies, policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS, to address the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS among women, and ensure access to antiretroviral treatment free of charge, with a particular focus on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission and targeting lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, women living in a humanitarian settings and women in prostitution;