News / Africa

HRW Reports on Atrocities Faced by Disabled Women in Uganda

China Keitetsi, campaigner and former child soldier from Uganda crying as she tells her story at a press conference held by Amnesty International to launch a campaign to stop violence against women, in London (File Photo)
China Keitetsi, campaigner and former child soldier from Uganda crying as she tells her story at a press conference held by Amnesty International to launch a campaign to stop violence against women, in London (File Photo)

An international research group says women with disabilities in northern Uganda regularly face sexual and gender-based violence. In a report published Thursday, Human Rights Watch says disabled women have been largely ignored in post-conflict reconstruction efforts.

A researcher on the report, Shantha Rau Barriga, spoke to VOA from Kampala.

She said women with disabilities in northern Uganda are deeply vulnerable, especially to sexual attacks.

"For women with disabilities, reproductive health services are not available," said Barriga. "They are vulnerable to HIV infection because society believes that women with disabilities are a-sexual and are virgins and they are more targets for sexual violence."

For the report, Human Rights Watch spoke to 64 women and girls with disabilities.

More than one-third said they had experienced some form of sexual or physical abuse.

Barriga said she spoke to one woman who had been raped three times only the week before.

"This woman did not even tell anybody in her community about what happened, not even her mother, because she was afraid of what they would say to her and that they would say she was running around," she said. "She wanted to know her HIV-status, but was not able to go to the health center because it was so far away she would have to crawl for miles and sleep on the road, so she just preferred to live without knowing."

Some of the women interviewed for the report were born with disabilities; others had developed disabilities through diseases such as polio. Many had sustained injuries during the two decades of fighting between the government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.

"Most of the women we met who had gotten their disabilities because of the war were landmine survivors, so they had lost one leg and one woman had been mutilated," said Barriga. "The LRA had cut off her nose and her ears and her upper lip and there were a couple of women who had similar experiences."

According to a national survey carried out in 2007, 20 percent of people in Uganda have a disability.

The Human Rights Watch report says women with disabilities have been by-passed in the effort to rebuild post-conflict Uganda; many are unable to access basic services such as health care and justice, and the stigma surrounding disability is such that many are excluded from their community.

The report says the Ugandan government, non-governmental organizations, and international humanitarian groups need to do more to address the problems that are specific to women with disabilities.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs