Lack of Judicial Services Fueling FGM in Amudat

1673 Views Moroto, Uganda

In short
The practice which involves altering the female genitalia for non-medical reasons was outlawed in Uganda in 2010 with a law that imposed harsh penalties for perpetrators. The law provides for a 10 year jail sentence for any person convicted of practicing FGM and life imprisonment for incidences that lead to death, disability or result in the victims infection with HIV/AIDS.

The absence of judicial and prison services in Amudat district is fueling an increase in Female Genital Mutilation-FGM, according to Freda Amuron, the  district Community Development Officer.

The practice which involves altering the female genitalia for non-medical reasons was outlawed in Uganda in 2010 with a law that imposed harsh penalties for perpetrators. The law provides for a 10 year jail sentence for any person convicted of practicing FGM and life imprisonment for incidences that lead to death, disability or result in the victim's infection with HIV/AIDS.

However, the cultural ritual is still practiced among the Pokot, Sabiny and Tepeth tribes in the districts of Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo. The practice is equally prevalent in Moroto, Nakapiripirit and Amudat district in Karamoja sub region.

Medical experts warn that can cause severe bleeding and health issues including infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and the increased risk of newborn deaths.

Amuron observes that several cases of people involved in the practice have failed to go throw the court system due to absence of court services at the district. Sometimes, she adds, witnesses opt out if they have to travel to neighboring districts to pin suspects.
 
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Raphael Lokut, the child and family protection unit desk officer in Amudat says more than half of the cases registered under FGM fail to proceed as witnesses fail to attend court because of distance. Such cases are in most cases heard in Moroto, a distance of 146 kilometers.

He notes that in 2015, out of eight cases reported, only three were convicted while in 2016, only five cases were convicted out of eleven registered.  He says witnesses
 
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Francis Kiyonga, the district chairperson Amudat says the issue of court and prison services should be treated with urgency to help not only in FGM cases but also other crimes in the district.
 
The prisons spokesman, Frank Baine asked the district leadership to apply for the required services from the Justice, Law and Order sector.