If we made the argument in cents and shillings maybe the government will see it. The government is losing from all the sick days, early deaths and so on. . . . Our [women’s] input is not counted. Eighty percent of women are rural. These are figures that are discounted.
—Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, Kampala, December 14, 2002.
Despite constitutional and structural reforms intended to address discrimination against women and to provide women with greater economic and political equality, the Ugandan government has not effectively implemented protections for female victims of domestic violence. The prosecution of domestic violence cases is hindered by state reluctance to intervene in “domestic issues” or to undermine male authority in the home. By emphasizing the reconciliation of husband and wife in domestic violence cases, the state supports a social structure that stresses women’s subjugation in marriage and effectively silences battered wives.
Corruption in the police forces and the courts and problems with the forensic collection of evidence have hampered Uganda’s response to domestic violence. The state has failed to provide battered women with adequate legal protection and to address both statutory provisions and customary practices that impede women’s ability to subsist independently of abusive husbands. It has failed to review and reform discriminatory divorce laws and to harmonize them with constitutional provisions aimed at ensuring women’s equality in marriage. Few reliable local statistics on domestic violence exist, making it difficult for policy makers to appreciate the extent of the problem. According to a Ugandan lawyer, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the principal data collection agency responsible for coordinating, monitoring and supervising the National Statistical system, had only just begun to disaggregate its data by gender.240 Additionally, because domestic violence is prosecuted under assault provisions contained in the Penal Code, police records do not treat domestic violence as a discrete offence, making such records of little use in gauging prevalence rates.
HIV/AIDS bodies have not incorporated a rights-based approach in their planning and a lack of funding has hampered government mechanisms targeting women’s issues. To date, the government has yet to address seriously the ways in which women’s lack of economic autonomy, domestic violence, and women’s vulnerability to HIV transmission intersect.
As a result of this abdication of state responsibility, NGOs have provided what little recourse has been available to battered women. In a discussion on the government’s response to domestic violence, Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi told Human Rights Watch: “These matters and that kind of violence cannot be handled by the state alone. It requires religious leaders, LC chairmen, teachers, it requires all forms of leadership to address it.”241 NGO leaders have argued, however, that the government is leaving too much of the responsibility to civil society. Peace Kyabuleko of the National Women’s Organisations of Uganda, the overall coordinating body for women’s organizations in the country, countered: “As NGOs or civil society we are taking on too much for ourselves. It is the government’s responsibility to see that our rights are protected as Ugandans and as women.”242
—Deborah Kaddu-Serwadda, women’s rights activist, Kampala, December 10, 2002.
Despite the enactment of a gender-progressive constitution, the Ugandan government has failed to use the law aggressively to combat domestic violence and to modify or repeal legislation that discriminates against women.243 Discriminatory provisions of the Divorce Act remain on the statute books. The government has failed to adopt and enact legislation such as the Domestic Relations Bill and the Sexual Offences Bill that have been designed to provide better protections for women’s bodily integrity and sexual autonomy in marriage, outlaw harmful traditional practices, and improve women’s property ownership rights. The government has failed to provide specific protections from domestic violence, and parliament only recently moved to provide for women’s security of occupancy on family land under the Land Act (Amendment) Bill 2002; President Museveni has reportedly declined to assent to the bill.244
Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi told Human Rights Watch that women have a “unique opportunity to be in government, the legislature and even at the local level and that affects the nature of legislation. You cannot ignore the woman question.”245 However, based on our own research and according to many local NGOs, the government is doing precisely that. What is certain is that the government has displayed a blatant disregard of its obligation to enact laws to protect the women of Uganda from spousal violence. Dora Byamukama, member of parliament, and coordinator of Law and Advocacy for Women in Uganda (Law-U), emphasized this point:
Ugandan marriage and divorce laws discriminate against women and contravene constitutional provisions providing for nondiscrimination,247 equal protection of the law,248 and equal rights in marriage, during marriage, and at its dissolution.249 In 1999, the government admitted: “[I]n the laws of marriage, divorce or inheritance, there is no gender equity or fairness to date. The woman is always in a subordinate position. This position is aggravated by the requirement in most marriages that bride price be paid to the parents of the female so that the family and clan of the husband tend to take the woman as property.”250
Statutory divorce laws in particular provide little in the way of protection for battered women and the grounds for divorce available under the Divorce Act impose an inequitable burden on women attempting to formally terminate their marriages.251 Under the act, a woman cannot simply accuse her husband of adultery, but must couple her claim with either cruelty or desertion, or claim that the adultery has been incestuous or bigamous or is accompanied by (polygynous) marriage.252 There is no such legal requirement for men.As the “aggrieved party,” only husbands may claim damages for adultery from co-respondents,253 implying that only the husband’s rights have been violated and underscoring women’s subordinate position in marriage. In general, under customary law, husbands have numerous grounds for divorce available to them, including infidelity, infertility, adultery, witchcraft, or insubordination. The grounds available to wives are limited to impotence, excessive cruelty, and desertion.254 Alimony payments are provided for under the Divorce Act255 and maintenance256 is available under Common Law and custom. However, most women who spoke to Human Rights Watch were largely unaware of these options and of the processes required to institute suits for maintenance.
A large number of the women had either moved in with their husbands without any formal marriage ceremony taking place or were in relationships in which the customary steps had not been completed. Despite the prevalence of women cohabiting with their intimate partners, the law fails to protect women who cohabit in very significant ways. For example, section 40 of the 1998 Land Act, which protects against the sale of family property without family consent, only applies to formally married couples.258 The 2002 land and gender rights survey found: “Women who are cohabiting were concerned in both Mpigi and Lira that if the man dies even their access rights will be withdrawn by the man’s clan, since theirs is not a recognised union.”259 Joanne Apecu, a senior legal officer at the governmental Law Reform Commission (LRC), explained that they do not presume cohabitees to be spouses as there are no obstacles to the formalization of relationships, and women have the opportunity to marry under a number of systems. Although she admitted to strong pressure from women’s groups to presume the existence of marriage for longstanding cohabitation, she argued that as the constitution requires consent to marriage, women should ensure that their unions are formalized in order for them to be recognized under the law. Apecu further stated that there was a need to protect societal morals, and argued that since the main concern related to property ownership, the best protection would be to sensitize women to register their property rights.260 This position, however, ignores the inability of many women to make demands regarding their marital status or property ownership because they are in abusive relationships, are economically dependent on their spouses, or both.
Unequal Property Rights
[A]ny law or custom that grants men a right to a greater share of property at the end of a marriage or de facto relationship, or on the death of a relative, is discriminatory and will have serious impact on a woman’s practical ability to divorce her husband, to support herself or her family, and to live in dignity as an independent person.
—CEDAW Committee, General Recommendation No. 21, Equality in marriage and family relations, para. 28
Customary doctrine, discriminatory laws, and a lack of legal education restrict women’s property ownership.261 Although the statutory law acknowledges the right of all Ugandans to own land,262 traditional practice leaves women with user rights only. Land tenure in Uganda is primarily held according to the customs and traditions of the differing ethnic groups. Customary tenure defers to male authority, while marriage and kinship ties define women’s access to land and the interests of extended family limit their rights of devolution.263 Characteristically, women are provided with user rights in order to assist in sustaining the household, but are denied the benefits of ownership.264 In a study conducted on behalf of the Uganda Land Alliance, the Makerere Institute of Social Research stated: “Customary tenure has evolved in deference or transfer of authority to men and the clan is used to protect this evolution. The once enshrined rights of access for all and the principle of unity of possession for the family unit is no longer upheld. To this extent, the legalization of customary tenure further entrenches the clan thinking and subjugation of women.”265 The 2002 land sector analysis commissioned by the government found: “Recent legal changes under the Land Act aimed at strengthening the land rights of women . . . through the requirement of consent to transactions on family land[,] have had little effect on the ground.”266 A number of lawyers who provided free legal representation to indigent women told Human Rights Watch that the majority of women’s complaints involved intra-familial disputes over women’s land rights and women threatened with eviction from their homes.267
Even though women are the main agricultural producers, they have little control over decisions on which crops to plant and are often obliged to hand over any money they make to their husbands. A cycle of poverty therefore ensnares women: lacking rights over land, they are economically dependent on their husbands who retain the earnings from the labor provided by their spouses. Lawyer Irene Kakooza asserted: “In the rural areas the woman is being battered. Yet she is producing all the cash crops to make money, which the man spends on alcohol and then beats her. We need to ensure that women get a share of family property so men don’t leave them destitute.”268
Many of the women were no longer in school, or were too old to have benefited from the Universal Primary Education system. Minister of Ethics and Integrity Miria Matembe argued: “The president talks about education. My mother cannot go [to Universal Primary Education]. She cannot inherit her father’s property now. What happens to these women? They cannot inherit the property they are working on now. Where do they belong? How do they get property?”269 In a letter addressed to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Janat Mukwaya, President Museveni acknowledged the particular problems women face when their relatives rob them of property after their husband’s death. He wrote: “Take the example of the brothers, sisters and parents of the husband thinking that they are entitled to the property of the family in case of the death of the husband. This has, fortunately, been overtaken by events. It leads to parasitism. There are family members who do not work and hope to suck the ones that do. This must be rejected and sorted out.”270 The 2002 gender and land rights study commissioned by the government established that “property grabbing” was consistently women’s primary concern with regard to land ownership,271 and stated: “Women who are separated, divorced, or abandoned generally lose all their rights to their land, their children, and their house. No law protects them. . . . Yet, a significant portion of women falls within this category.”272
Legislative reforms under the 1998 Land Act, which provide some protection for women, are nevertheless undermined by gaps in existing legal provisions or implementation mechanisms. In 2002, an article on land rights for women commissioned by the Uganda Land Alliance commented: “The situation of women’s, children’s, and orphans’ land rights on the ground does not appear to have been significantly affected by all these reforms. The little research conducted to date suggests that while many people are aware of, and some support, the reforms, this has not translated into improvements in the security of land rights of many women.”273 Section 40 of the Land Act requires prior written consent of both spouses in transactions involving family holdings. However, the land must be one on which the “person ordinarily resides with his/her spouse and from which they derive their sustenance.”274 Thus a wife must actually live on the land for her consent to become necessary. In addition, the woman must be legally married to the owner of the land for the section to be applicable. For illiterate women, the requirement for written consent absent witnesses is open to abuse. Most significantly, despite extensive lobbying on the part of women’s organizations and parliamentary discussion and approval, a spousal co-ownership clause was omitted from the provisions of the act.275 Baptized the “lost clause,” spousal co-ownership became the focus of a land rights campaign led by women’s rights groups and was intended to provide legitimacy to women’s property claims.276 The campaign, however, was suppressed at the highest levels and was painted as a clause that might lead to “professional land-grabbers.”277 Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Janat Mukwaya told Human Rights Watch: “In my view women should inherit from their father. I should have the same right as my brother. Why should I inherit from a man if I can’t inherit from my father? I would not want African marriages to turn the European way where love is turned into property acquisition.”278
By contrast, when asked to comment on the opposition to women’s co-ownership of property, Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development Zoe Bakoku Bakoru stressed the need for greater protection: “We also need to get women to understand what their rights are, at least the ones they have. We need some level of training so women can claim back land that husbands have sold out from underneath them.” She went on to say that those with access to property should not oppose the passing of laws that would benefit poor women, concluding, “We can’t make a different law for the rich and poor.”279
On June 18, 2003, parliament reportedly passed the Land Act (Amendment) Bill 2002, which provides for spousal “security of occupancy” on family land, thereby affording women greater protection from eviction. However, moves to include a clause requiring registration jointly in the names of the spouses and dependent children were rejected, and the right of women to own property jointly with their spouses remains absent. The bill requires presidential assent before it is passed into law.280 As noted above, President Museveni has reportedly declined to give his assent pending further discussions.281
The enactment of the 1972 Succession (Amendment) Decree was intended to rationalize the law of inheritance and make it applicable to all Ugandans. The decree restricts the application of customary law, recognizes women’s right to inherit from their husbands and fathers, and preserves the right of widows to remain in the matrimonial home until remarriage or death. However, customary law continues to be applicable with regard to the appointment of a “customary heir”282 and in polygynous marriages. According to a U.N. study, in intestate cases, wives receive 15 percent of the estate (other than residential land) shared equally,283 while customary heirs receive 1 percent, dependent relatives receive 9 percent, and “lineal descendents” (children and grandchildren) receive 75 percent.284 Where there are no lineal descendents, wives receive fifty percent and 99 percent where there are no dependent relatives.285 While widows have the right to occupy any residential holding and to cultivate adjoining land,286 the right of occupation is limited to those pieces of property, and such occupancy rights terminate upon the widow’s remarriage. Further, widows have no right to sell the land. No such restrictions are applicable to widowers. Where no marriage formalities have taken place, the wife or wives are left to share the portion allocated to dependent relatives.287
In reality, the succession laws are largely ignored. The court procedures for administering estates are arduous and costly, and unless grants of probate or letters of administration are required for formal matters (such as for banking purposes), or property disputes are referred to the courts, customary practices are commonly followed.
The Domestic Relations Bill (Draft)288 is a crucial piece of legislation for Ugandan women. It addresses women’s property rights in marriage and women’s right to negotiate sex on the grounds of health, sets the minimum age of marriage at eighteen, and criminalizes widow inheritance.289 The payment of bride price will no longer be essential for the formalization of customary marriages, and any demands for the return of “marriage gifts” will be an offence.290 The bill criminalizes marital rape and provides for civil remedies, such as compensation and “restricting orders.”291 The grounds for divorce are equally applicable to both spouses292 and alimony is provided for.293 The Domestic Relations Bill continues to exclude cohabitation from the presumption of marriage, but provides parties to such relationships with certain rights, including the right to register the fact of cohabitation and particulars of any monetary or non-monetary contributions made. A competent court may then distribute the property equitably in accordance with those contributions, and may do so even when registration has not taken place.294 Polygyny is also strictly regulated by guidelines that provide for the economic support of all wives. The bill also provides for equal sexual rights and establishes more equitable grounds for divorce.However, despite vigorous lobbying by women’s rights groups, the bill’s enactment has been in abeyance since the early 1990s. Proponents of the bill cite challenges to long-held male-dominated privileges as the major obstacles to its enactment. Betty Akullo of the Domestic Violence Project, which was established to strengthen domestic violence prevention efforts in the Kawempe Division of Kampala, said, “It’s nowhere because it’s challenging [male] power.”295
Women’s groups lobbying for the enactment of the Domestic Relations Bill told us that the bill lacks high-level support. 296 President Yoweri Museveni has reputedly called for numerous reviews of the Bill, a move some women’s rights activists described as “delaying tactics.”297 In his letter to Janat Mukwaya, President Museveni argued that the bill is trying to assimilate western habits:
Minister of Ethics and Integrity Miria Matembe countered: “The government asks for more research and says we shouldn’t copy western habits. But why do we copy western things in other areas and not this one?”299
According to NGOs, the primary resistance to the Domestic Relations Bill relates to women’s right to marital property. The Domestic Relations Bill includes as matrimonial property: the matrimonial home, household property, any property immovable or movable acquired during the marriage, and any immovable property owned by either spouse which provides the basic income for the family.300 Any matrimonial immovable property is to be owned in common.301 The bill also introduces the principle of “non-monetary contribution” or “sweat equity,” that entitles a spouse to a beneficial interest in property equivalent to contributions made through activities such as domestic labor and farming.302 Opposition to this concept has been widespread and has reportedly included affluent women political leaders. While closing the Women's Worlds Congress 2002 held in July at Makerere University, former Vice President Specioza Kazibwe urged women to buy their own land instead of seeking co-ownership.303 According to a women’s rights activist, in November or December 2002, Lira municipality member of parliament, Cecilia Ogwal stated that she would oppose the enactment of the Domestic Relations Bill because it would make women “lazy.”304 Although even President Museveni acknowledged the significance of women’s labor in his letter to Mukwaya, he then went on to say that men should therefore recognize women in their testamentary dispositions, thereby continuing to leave the ownership of property in the hands of men. “By giving up everything else and coming to live with you, look after your house, bear and bring up your children, she is helping you and freeing you to do other things. You should, therefore, not leave out of your will (kiraamo) such contribution, though indirect.”305 Under the Domestic Relations Bill, there is no division of matrimonial property upon separation although a court can rule that spouses are to share any income.
Efforts to abolish polygyny under the Domestic Relations Bill have also met with great resistance. Joanne Apecu at the Law Reform Commission confirmed that the initial intention was to outlaw the practice. However, pressure from the Muslim lobby meant that a compromise had to be struck, balancing their interests with those of women’s rights groups.306 As a result, polygyny continues to be permitted with certain restrictions, including the obligation to maintain absolute equality between the wives.307 Matrimonial property is to be shared between the husband and each wife present at the time of its purchase.308 A wife will also be entitled to petition for divorce before the expiration of the statutory waiting period of two years on the ground that her husband is in the process of marrying again without her consent.309 Human Rights Watch interviewed some individual men and women who argued against an outright ban on polygyny, contending that monogamous marriages are a creation of the west. Dr. Hafsa Lukwata of AUWMD argued: “I am Muslim. Women are getting infected because of men’s actions. Polygamy has advantages and disadvantages. If the man is uneducated and you don’t have bargaining power then it’s terrible. But if you are free to communicate it’s okay.”310 Unfortunately, the majority of the women we interviewed were suffering precisely because they did not have bargaining power. Moreover, field research carried out by Law and Advocacy for Women revealed that 86.7 percent of a focus group in Iganga and 80 percent of a Kampala focus group identified polygyny as a cause of domestic violence.311 Ruth Mukooyo of the FIDA Legal AID project argued: “The constitution talks about equality. Polygamy offends this principle. Most of our population is polygamous. Even when they marry in church they still go and get other pseudo-wives. They had to compromise in the Domestic Relations Bill. Therefore now they require the wife’s consent. . . . Polygamy really encourages violence. It is psychological torture for wives which leads to conflict.”312
Under the Domestic Relations Bill, spouses are provided with equal rights of “consortium,” which includes the right to sex. However, rather than eradicating the presumption of consent in marriage, spouses are instead permitted to refuse to have sex with their spouses on “reasonable grounds,” including poor health and a reasonable fear that engaging in sexual intercourse is likely to cause injury or harm.313 Apecu told us that in considering marital rape, the LRC had to balance the protection of the family with the rights of individuals. She added: “The presumption of consent is the main obstacle and we have to use it as the starting-point. It is too hard to change. It is cultural. It has been there for so long. It hasn’t changed anywhere else, why should Uganda be the first? What would marriage be about really if we don’t have the presumption? How would the family go on?”314 However, the accounts in this report demonstrate clearly the ways in which the presumption of consent exposes women to rape and HIV transmission.
Although government officials defended the concessions they have made by arguing that the interests of all groups need to be taken into account, women activists contended that in coming to this compromise, women’s rights were, as ever, undermined.315 In June 2003 the cabinet had adopted the LRC’s position on the Domestic Relations Bill and it remained with the Ministry of Justice to present the draft bill to the cabinet. An NGO representative affirmed that civil society organizations will continue to advocate for its enactment both in the media and under the Strategic Public Litigation Coalition of Uganda.316
The Sexual Offences (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill contemplates the repeal of certain provisions of the Penal Code and criminalizes forced sex in marriage under the term “marital sexual assault.”317 The provision makes it an offence to perform a sexual act with a spouse against his/her consent irrespective of whether the couple is living together under the same roof. However, Section 118A(3) also limits the terms under which a spouse can refuse consent to sex to “reasonable grounds,” including poor health and a reasonable fear that engaging in sex is likely to cause injury or harm.318 Opposition has arisen over the introduction of marital rape, a term which one lawyer described as having “raised hell.”319 One women’s rights activist told Human Rights Watch that opponents of the Sexual Offences Bill maintain that the criminalization of forced sex in marriage would only serve to provide a pretext for women to harass their husbands.320
There is a continued need for specific legislation to arm those structures attempting to tackle spousal violence. Livingstone Sewanya, executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, an NGO that promotes human rights and democracy through civic education and advocacy, explained the prevailing perspective on domestic violence: “Domestic violence is not recognized as a basic human rights issue. Matters concerning spousal abuse have generally been relegated to the family and the community as responsible actors and not necessarily in the public sphere. The starting point is how domestic violence is a human rights issue and deserving of punishment.”321
Currently, assault provisions contained in the Penal Code are used to prosecute intimate-partner violence against women whether as simple assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, or assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.322 Apart from forced sex, the Domestic Relations Bill does not address domestic violence as the Law Reform Commission (LRC) considered the bill to be “overloaded.”323 The LRC has recommended that a separate study of domestic violence be carried out but does not have the funds to do so.324 Joanne Apecu asserted that the LRC proposal on the bill has been ready since 1998/1999.325
Specific legislation on domestic violence and its enforcement is critical in order to address the violations described in this report. Assault provisions under the Penal Code are not tailored to the distinctive social, cultural, economic, and political circumstances under which domestic violence unfolds. Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige of the Uganda Women’s Network argued: “Assault under the Penal Code does not capture intimate violence that is based on control, power, and a relationship of trust. A stranger assault is very different.”326 Additionally, a domestic violence statute would offer more appropriate remedies and protections than are currently provided for under the Penal Code, such as the compensation of victims, orders for child custody, emergency protection orders, and the removal of the offender from the home.
Using general assault provisions to address domestic violence also prevents the disaggregation of data and makes it difficult to direct funds and services where they are needed. Edward Mugyimba-Nimbatsa, assistant commissioner and focal point officer on HIV/AIDS in the Ministry of Gender told Human Rights Watch that the absence of a domestic violence statute particularly prevents the allocation of funding to the Ministry of Gender for specific sector plans on domestic violence. “As the legal framework has not been cleared they can’t allocate the money. So groups on domestic violence cannot access money except through projects like DANIDA credit and legal project.”327 A domestic violence law would also facilitate women’s rights groups in procuring funding for shelters for victims of spousal abuse. Ultimately, the political will is absent for effective change. Lawyer Irene Kakooza asserted, “We don’t have the critical mass within the legislature to pass these bills.”328
Failure to Implement Constitutional Protections
The 1995 Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic of Uganda.329 Article 21 confirms the equal status of all Ugandans before the law, provides for the equal protection of the law, and prohibits discrimination on a number of grounds including sex.330 Article 33 accords women equality with men and provides: “Laws, cultures, customs or traditions which are against the dignity, welfare or interest of women or which undermine their status, are prohibited by this Constitution.”331 However, policy has failed to translate into action, and there has been a distinct failure to implement constitutional provisions to protect women. Dipak Naker, co-director of Raising Voices, told Human Rights Watch: “What is missing is the link between paper and community. . . . What practical mechanisms are there? This is often overlooked. Uganda has a brilliant, progressive constitution for women. But it is not operationalized.”332
The constitution is designed to provide for the Ugandan people’s most fundamental rights and freedoms. Yet women’s constitutional rights are literally trampled upon on a daily basis. In 1999, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (Ministry of Gender) noted: “It should be observed that whereas in the new constitution there are positive provisions, it is still too early to celebrate their application as the law enforcement organs are adjusting to meet the constitutional principles. Moreover, economic, social and cultural constraints still hinder the full realization of women’s equality.”333
Impediments in access to justice deny women equal protection of the law.334 Property violations committed by spouses and in-laws transgress constitutional provisions affording every person protection from the deprivation of property.335 Forced sex, women’s inability to negotiate condom use and procreation, unequal rights over children, and discriminatory grounds for divorce contravene women’s entitlement to equal rights during marriage, and at its dissolution under article 31(1) of the constitution.336 Polygynous unions, which entitle husbands to marry multiple spouses, are also inconsistent with article 31(1).337 The failure of the government to enact legislation such as the Domestic Relations Bill contravenes Parliament’s constitutional obligation to make appropriate laws for the protection of the rights of widows and widowers to inherit the property of their deceased spouses and to enjoy parental rights over children.338 The state also has a responsibility to “take affirmative action in favor of groups marginalised on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom, for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them.”339 Parliament has the responsibility to make laws to give full effect to this clause.340
NGOs have contributed memoranda to the Constitutional Review Commission341 specifically requesting that people living with HIV/AIDS be included as a category of marginalized groups requiring affirmative action under article 32(1) of the constitution. They have also recommended that article 33(3) be amended to protect women’s sexual and reproductive rights, including: the right to determine the number and spacing of children; freedom from forced conception; freedom from marital rape; freedom to use a contraceptive method of one’s choice; freedom from sex that endangers health; and freedom from cultural practices that endanger the sexual and reproductive functions of women’s health, such as female genital mutilation.342
The government has failed to ensure that domestic violence is adequately investigated by the police and prosecuted in the courts. Human Rights Watch interviews showed that the belief that domestic violence is a private concern that should not involve the state was prevalent within the police force and at the local council level. In 2002, a women activist wrote: “[The] application of equality in Uganda is asymmetric. It subjects relations in the public sphere—the world of political participation, employment and education—to minimum standards of equality. In contrast, it relegates the private sphere of the home and family to an arena that is almost beyond justice.”343 Interviews with police and state prosecutors indicated that women’s economic vulnerabilities made efforts to pursue domestic violence cases difficult, and that although a small number who filed charges followed their cases through to their conclusion, most ultimately withdrew their complaints in order that their partners could return home and provide for the family. Often this resulted in further violence.
One state prosecutor informed Human Rights Watch that biased attitudes in the police force and economic constraints meant that those cases that were prosecuted were usually the most egregious, often resulting in the woman’s death.344 In 1999, the Ministry of Gender reported on biases against women in the legal system:
Bear in mind he [her husband] would go away for two weeks and then come back and force me, with his might. I did not complain to anyone after that. . . . It’s culture, there is no way you can go to the police and say your husband has raped you. They say “he brought you from your home and this is the job you came to do.” There is no way you can report him or seek legal advice.
─Rita Mukasa, Nakulabye, January 15, 2003.
The government has taken steps to improve the police response to family matters. It has established family protection units in thirty-three out of forty-eight districts346 and, despite the absence of a specific statute, a domestic violence unit has been established at Kawempe police station. However, Superintendent of Police Helen Alyek at the Child and Family Protection Unit at Nsambya Police Station pointed out that sensitization was largely restricted to the urban areas. She told Human Rights Watch that most of the training was donor-funded and resources were thin on the ground. 347 Although women are increasingly employed in the family protection units, the numbers of male officers continued to far outstrip their female counterparts. Superintendent Saboni argued that there were not enough women police officers dealing with domestic violence and marital rape and that this limited effective police response.348
When Magdalene Namatovu’s husband raped her in front of her children in January 1993, she tried to file a complaint at her local police station. She told us: “I was looking for a law to protect me and my children. I realized I could go to the police and went the next day. When I got to the police they said they couldn’t get involved in domestic affairs. After some time, I thought about seeking help from the probation office.349 The probation office called for a family meeting. With the probation office, the only issue they examined was the three children he had disowned. But they didn’t look into the issue of forced sex or the many children I had to raise.”350
Lawyers described the level of police response to domestic violence cases as erratic and dependent on the particular station. Officer Abbey-Ngako, who heads the Kawempe domestic violence unit admitted, “Not all policemen have been taught to handle the cases.”351 A number of lawyers referred to complaints of domestic violence being treated lightly and on occasion even with scorn. Martha Nanjobe at the Legal Aid Project told us: “Women complain about the police when they report domestic violence. I have those complaints. The police are unsympathetic, jeering at the women even.”352
NGOs, victims of domestic violence, and government officials criticized police officers for viewing domestic violence as a private family issue rather than a crime. Joanne Apecu of the Law Reform Commission stressed: “The police look at [domestic violence] as a domestic issue. The perception [is] that the man has discipline rights. They should be looking at it as a criminal assault. Most times they will send the woman back home.”353 Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi agreed: “From reports I received, there is a tendency on the part of some police personnel to regard cases originating from homes as ‘domestic affairs.’ Even initially, they are not handled with the kind of seriousness they deserve.”354 At a minimum, the police should apply assault provisions under the Penal Code without discrimination. However, lawyers argued that police placed greater emphasis on cases of stranger assault. Lawyer Irene Kakooza told Human Rights Watch: “It seems in the mind of the police, assault is discriminatory in its application. They seem to think that street assault is prosecutable but in the home it is a domestic matter.”355
According to one activist, even where the police did address domestic violence complaints, officers often compounded the problem by blaming the women for the violence and placing the burden for resolving the matter on their shoulders. As a result, women withdrew complaints and returned home to increased violence from outraged husbands.356 Officer Abbey-Ngako of the domestic violence unit told Human Rights Watch: “We emphasize treatment. We make him promise that he won’t mistreat the wife or we’ll go to court. Very few cases are referred to the family court.” 357 Officer Abbey-Ngako emphasized the sanctity of the family unit as a rationale for reconciliation. “We’ve discovered that many cases are due to a lack of awareness. We counsel and they see their faults. Once they reconcile there’s no point in going to court. It creates permanent enmity. The law imposes a duty to bring up the children.”358
Endemic police corruption plays a central role in impeding the prosecution of domestic violence. Lawyer Maureen Owor worked at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for seven years prior to setting up in private practice. She has handled a number of criminal and family law cases, and sat on a commission of inquiry into corruption in the police force as lead counsel. She described her experiences with the police’s treatment of domestic violence cases: “The few cases [of reported domestic violence] that I know of are killed off at the police station. They [the police] are the first to negotiate with the wife. If the man pays a handsome fee, the files are not sent to the court. If it is not sent, the [prosecutor’s] office will not know it was reported. Many of my present clients will say they went to the police but it was not followed up, or the relatives exerted pressure. I never prosecuted domestic violence cases [at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions].”359
Some women accused the police of imposing “unofficial fees” when they tried to lay complaints. Our interviews with lawyers, victims, and police officials such as Superintendent Saboni revealed that in some stations, fees were levied for the Police Form 3 (PF3) that provides for medical examinations of victims. Other unofficial fees included photocopying and transport. Alice Namagembe told Human Rights Watch that in about 1998, her husband hit her above her eye and her aunt advised her to go to the police. She went to Entebbe police station, where they charged her UShs3000 (U.S.$1.52)360 for making the statement and asked for UShs5000 (U.S.$2.54) to arrest her husband, which she did not have. They took her statement but did not give her a medical form although they could clearly see her injury.361 Officer Chris Salongo is in charge of the Child and Family Protection Unit at Kawempe Police Station. He informed us that they did not charge for the PF3 form, although the medical examination cost UShs5000 (U.S.$2.54). Officer Salongo also asserted that the doctor charged UShs10,000 (U.S.$5.08) to undertake an examination for rape or assault, a fee few women could afford.362
As it stands, the handling of complaints is currently at the discretion of individual officers, which can result in women having to return to highly dangerous situations that have, in the meantime, become increasingly volatile. The absence of a specific domestic violence statute also leaves it in the hands of the officers to classify the offence and decide whether victims of domestic violence will receive medical attention. Officer Salongo told us: “We are the ones to categorize the offence because domestic violence is not stipulated by law. . . . We decide based on her injuries whether she goes for a medical examination. There is common assault where there is a slap. That does not get a medical form.”363 The absence of a standardized investigation protocol makes for a haphazard response to domestic violence, and risks serious injuries being ignored by less committed officers.
Some police officers told Human Rights Watch that the fact that women often recanted and withdrew the charges frustrated serious attempts to deal with domestic violence cases. Senior Superintendent Jessica Saboni said: “The police also get frustrated because they start investigations and women ask for [them] to be withdrawn. They feel like they’re wasting their time.” 364 Byabakama-Mugenyi sympathized, and said that prosecutions of domestic violence cases often stalled because the main witness, the wife, is not compellable under Section 119 of the Evidence Act. He told us: “It is very difficult without a complainant. She is the key witness. She bails out. What do you do?” 365 Additionally, other witnesses are usually family members who are reluctant to cooperate.366 Nevertheless, improvements in training and police recruitment can go a long way to enhancing women’s chances of escaping violent situations. Superintendent Saboni admitted: “Look at the facilities. We have no way of removing the woman from the danger. We have no place for her to stay safely. . . . Women don’t think that the police have the capacity or the right attitude to deal with domestic violence. Most of them do still think like that. There are very few officers that understand the problem.”367
Evidentiary issues also constrain the effective prosecution of domestic violence cases. The collection of physical evidence, critical to prosecuting both physical and sexual violence cases, is impeded by the scarcity of police surgeons. At the time of our visit, there was a sole police surgeon368 in Kampala to handle all the cases requiring physical evidence. Martha Nanjobe of the Legal Aid Project said,
Local Council Courts
One woman [victim of domestic violence] in the village went to the LCs. She was sent to settle issues at home. So I’ve never bothered to go.
—Lucy Akurut, Pallisa, January 10, 2003.
Local Councils370 (LCs) are important institutions because they are established at the community level and are endowed with social legitimacy. Their informal nature and proximity have made them popular, and they are often the first point of access for women who seek assistance on family matters. However, many women who were in abusive relationships felt the LCs were not viable options, either because they believed their husbands could influence the decision, or, more commonly, because they anticipated that the LCs would not be willing to become involved in marital issues. Despite being persistently raped and beaten by her husband, Sara Kisakye never went to her local LC or the police. She explained, “I thought I would never get help there.”371 When Rita Mukasa’s husband evicted her she did go to the LC3 court for help. She told us: “The court wasn’t helpful because it turned out [her husband] had friends on the LC3 council and this influenced the magistrate. They told us to [come to] an agreement.”372 Jacqueline Nakitende, who suffered a miscarriage as a result of being raped by her husband, also went to the LC for assistance. She did not find any. She told us, “I reported to the LC but they said they couldn’t do much because he was an army man and they were rough [dangerous].”373
Positive steps have been taken in mandating that a third of LC officers be women. However, according to NGOs, the level of response to domestic violence varies with the court and depends on the level of sensitization of the particular officers and the number of women who actually hold office (above and beyond the mandatory number). In many cases, reconciliation, rather than reporting the matter to the police, will be the first course of action. LC1 Chair Philip Wanyama confirmed that their primary goal is to reconcile the parties before referring the matter to the police. When Hadija Namuganda’s husband bit her ear off, she went to her LC. She told us, “They said we should compromise and he should pay my medical bills which he did.”374 Betty Akullo, a lawyer, had worked with the LC1 in her area. She criticized the response to domestic violence: “Many of them would say ‘you are a woman, go back home, respect your husband.’ It’s only I who pushed for cases to be taken to the police. In other areas, it may not get pushed at all.” 375
There were also disparities in the imposition of fees. Akullo pointed out that depending on the particular area and court, the woman could be made to pay a “facilitation” fee when filing a complaint. In these cases, women who could not afford to pay a fee were excluded by the justice system. Sules Kiliesa, a victim of domestic violence, complained: “If you want to be listened to by the LCs you have to pay money. Then they dismiss you.”376 Wanyama confirmed that the imposition of fees was irregular: “There is no charge for the woman to bring the case at LC1. That should be the countrywide system. But I hear some local leaders use it to get money. But women don’t have money in most cases. It would mean denying them justice.”377
Some LC officers who spoke to Human Rights Watch seemed to be unaware of the widespread nature of domestic violence and of the fact that many women did not perceive LCs to be viable sources of support. Isma Tamale, LC1 Defence Chair in his village, was shocked to hear that many women did not feel that the LCs could help them: “We have cases of violence against women but not many. Men leaving their wives in the houses without giving them assistance and quarrelling with their wives. . . . Yes, I mean beating. . . . I’d be surprised to learn that there are many women who are beaten who don’t come to the LC. It’s probably because they still love their husbands. I don’t agree that if they don’t come it’s because they don’t see the LC as a solution. . . . I won’t lie, we have no programs to deal with domestic violence as yet.”378
While Wanyama revealed an awareness of the need to adopt a gender sensitive approach in handling matters at the LCs, he may be in the minority. Human Rights Watch also heard that the LCs are not always “women-friendly.” Pastor Owori underscored this, saying: “Local councils always support the men. I participated in research [on the accessibility of local councils]. In most cases husbands are protected by men. They will make sure that the matter is resolved without going to the police. They belittle her, call her ‘Mama Kelele’ [Mrs. Noisemaker].”379 Senior Superintendent Jessica Saboni argued: “LCs don’t have the professional capacity to deal with domestic violence. They still deal with it in a very traditional way. If it’s a grievous harm it should come to the police.”380 Minister of Ethics and Integrity Miria Matembe worked as an LC1, 2, and 3 councilor, and as a secretary for mass mobilisation at the LC5 level. She told Human Rights Watch that in some instances, women would have to appeal to a higher court despite winning their cases, because the court officers were reluctant to enforce their judgments against the husbands. “Those LC courts are not generally useful to woman as far as violence is concerned. Some try their best . . . [but] even where a woman wins she has to appeal. Have you ever seen anyone winning and appealing because there’s nobody to enforce her judgments?” 381
Interviews with women and NGOs revealed that LCs were comparatively better at dealing with property and maintenance complaints, and some women who had been evicted from their homes had been able to obtain some relief by applying to the courts. However, the arrangements were not formalized, and in some cases husbands later demanded reimbursement or the return of property. The punishments imposed can also be inadequate. The LCs have the power to impose fines and often rely on shaming the perpetrator. Wanyama told us: “If people don’t adhere to rulings we can impose fines or expose him to the whole village. . . . It’s embarrassing so they try to adhere. The cash fines do not exceed UShs5000 (U.S.$2.54). At times we might make them do community service. The whole village will know it’s because of domestic violence.”382 Statutory oversight is also lacking. The Local Council Courts Bill 2001 currently provides for the strengthening of the LC courts through enlarged civil jurisdiction, improved monitoring by the judiciary, and increased capacity building.383 Officials from the Ministry of Local Government said women are “on the agenda” and that they intended to issue circulars to local government to indicate how to integrate HIV/AIDS and to attempt to sensitize the courts on the treatment of women whose husbands have died of AIDS. They also intended to produce guidelines for the LCs on how to handle cases and to provide donor-funded training that would include a gender component.384 Draft guidelines provided to Human Rights Watch did incorporate a focus on human rights and instruction on the handling of gender-sensitive cases.385
In January 2000, Kooky Sharma, a Kampala businessman, was sentenced to death for the high-profile 1997 murder of his wife, Renu Joshi, by inflicting electric burns and blunt injuries all over her body.386 On April 15, 2002, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict.387 Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi, the prosecutor in the case, told Human Rights Watch that public protest and the support of women’s groups ensured the full prosecution of the defendant. He also pointed out that there was no complainant to withdraw the charge.388
Aside from a few convictions in particularly heinous cases, few complaints of domestic violence reach the courts. Byabakama-Mugenyi told Human Rights Watch: “We get some cases of domestic violence. Certainly not many. From my experience the cases are hardly prosecuted. [You’d] be lucky if the man is charged in court in the first place. Prosecution hardly happens.”389 He stated that few cases of domestic violence are reported at all: “The majority of domestic violence cases go unreported. What is reported I think is less than 10 percent,” and pointed out that the vice-president herself had failed to report the matter to the police. “She herself never reported to the police. This is an indication of unreported domestic violence matters.”390 The interviews revealed a mixed reaction on the courts’ response to domestic violence. Byabakama-Mugenyi argued that the problem occurs in the investigation stage and that it is rare that men are even charged for spousal abuse. He asserted that the courts treat cases of domestic violence fairly and that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions is eager to prosecute such complaints: “If we get the evidence and we are not hindered we pursue cases of domestic violence with all the vigor they deserve. We will send a message to perpetrators of domestic violence that the law will not handle them with kid gloves.”391 Martha Nanjobe of the Legal Aid Project agreed: “My perception of the courts would be that they would be bound to respect the rights of victims but there is a problem with the matter getting to court. Men chase their cases vigilantly.”392 However, lawyer Maureen Owor described the judiciary’s attitude towards domestic cases as “very negative.”393 In 1999, the Ministry of Gender found: “Despite the efforts to be impartial and objective, members of the judiciary are affected by societal-based prejudices and stereotypes with regard to property ownership, standards of proof in criminal cases especially relating to sexual offences or violation of the person such as rape, defilement and domestic violence.”394
Numerous factors combine to limit women’s access to justice. A lack of access to formal education, limited legal literacy, and a lack of familiarity with English (the language of the courts), make court navigation difficult. Women’s low economic status often makes it impossible for them to meet court expenses, while nepotism and corruption in the courts favors their more economically powerful husbands. In the first half of 1998, a National Integrity Survey examined the Ugandan people’s experiences with and perceptions of corruption in public services. In 2000, two-thirds (63 percent) of service users stated that they paid bribes to the police, and half (50 percent) paid bribes to the judiciary services. The average bribe paid to the judiciary service was Ushs106, 000 (U.S.$53.82).395
Women’s lack of awareness of court and police procedures exacerbates the problem. Maureen Owor told Human Rights Watch:
Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development Zoe Bakoku Bakoru asserted that Ugandan women’s legal awareness was high and that there had been a significant increase in women’s use of the courts.397 However, Human Rights Watch interviews revealed that many women did not see the justice system as a viable option for addressing issues such as domestic violence. Annette Tendo, program and advocacy officer at FIDA, told us that domestic violence cases were rare, and that most clients only came to them for help in obtaining maintenance, despite having been physically assaulted by their husbands.398 Martha Nanjobe of the Legal Aid Project agreed, saying that many women were not even aware that domestic violence was an offence.399 Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi said of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, “Many people don’t even know this office exists.” 400
Lawyers interviewed by Human Rights Watch explained that many cases were lost at the outset because women relied on their husbands for money and permission to travel. Martha Nanjobe recounted the difficulties for women in accessing their services: “Our branch in Jinja covers more than ten districts. There is one advocate and one volunteer. [The area from Jinja] up to Mbale [is covered] by one office. Women from Mbale cannot run to Jinja! The legal officer leaves the office to go to another district. Clients find the office empty. People can walk seventy kilometers to get to it.”401 She argued: “We need clinics at the district level. This must involve the government. This is their problem. The least they can do is partner with people providing the services. At least provide the infrastructure. NGOs cannot do it alone. . . . People need access to justice at the outset. Appeals are difficult if a case has not already been established. It is needed from the police stage up. That is where a lot of cases fail.” 402
The constitution mandates the Uganda Human Rights Commission to generate awareness of constitutional provisions.403 The LRC also has a legal education component that is under-utilized.404 Yet NGOs providing free legal representation to impoverished women experienced overwhelming demand. Nanjobe argued that the government was failing to support legal aid: “The Legal Aid Project is donor funded. It is time for the government to support legal aid. The government has a scheme, the ‘State Brief Scheme’ under the constitution. This avails a person charged with a capital offence to have a state funded lawyer. The State feels that its responsibility ends there, but it should not.” 405
Human Rights Watch could only confirm the existence of one functioning shelter in Kampala run by the Women and Children’s Crisis Centre. Lack of funding hampered the ability of even that facility to provide long-term shelter. Executive Director Dr. Josephine Kasolo told Human Rights Watch that the number of women seeking refuge rose with publicity, and that they sheltered about ten women a week for a maximum of five days.406 Isma Tamale, LC1 councilor, told us: “If the woman is in real danger we take them straight to the police. They have to settle the matter. There are no shelters for women to go to. What happens [is that] we let them sleep at any LC person’s house. Shelters would be good.” 407
Economic constraints are an obstacle to obtaining medical evidence to support domestic violence allegations. In principle, outpatient health care at government clinics is free;408 numerous NGO representatives reported that, in practice, women have to pay. A “National Integrity Survey” found that in 2000, more than a quarter of the respondents (28 percent) paid bribes for health services at an average amount of Ushs12,000 (U.S.$6.09).409In addition, hospitals charge high fees for physical examinations that most women cannot afford. The police surgeon is based in Kampala, which is often too far and too expensive for many women to reach. There is also an official fee for the forensic examination. In 1999, the Ministry of Gender observed: “Women are less able than men to use health services, even when these are available. Although the actual costs (including fees, drugs, transport and under the table charges) affect everyone, women have less access to money than men. Lack of money for transport is often the reason why women do not seek health services or do not go for further treatment.”410
The management of domestic violence cases in hospitals is flawed. Dr. Hafsa Lukwata of the Association of Uganda Women Medical Doctors reported that hospitals are failing to take comprehensive social histories, and, where they do, are only taking histories of admitted patients, whereas most domestic violence victims come in on an outpatient basis.411 According to Dr. Lukwata, victims are usually treated and sent home without any further action being taken and there is no automatic reporting to the police. Dan Kaye at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Makerere University Medical School, told Human Rights Watch: “We see people with injuries again and again, we just treat, we don’t ask.”412 Dr. Lukwata attributed this to a lack of resources: “Reporting of domestic violence cases to the police is not done and because [hospitals are] so understaffed and low on resources it would be a real obstacle. A lot of medical personnel in the rural areas . . . are a lower cadre of medical officer and don’t have the requisite training.”413
Interviews with HIV-positive women, the Uganda AIDS Commission, and Ministry of Health representatives indicated that the costs of HIV/AIDS testing are problematic for most people, and are a particular impediment for economically subordinate women. Many women we spoke to who managed to access HIV/AIDS services were either not on medication or took medicines such as paracetemol (for headaches) and chloroquine (for malaria). The AIDS Information Centre, which charges UShs4000 (U.S.$2.03) at their clinic in Kampala, revealed that when they offer free services the response is overwhelming.414
Although government hospitals provided free medication to people living with HIV/AIDS, some women told Human Rights Watch that some hospitals required them to pay a fee. Mbakile told us: “I take panadol and chloroquin. I get them from the hospital. I have to pay. We pay someone who writes the card for you - UShs1000 (U.S.$0.50). He charges UShs300 (U.S.$0.15) for the injections. He does not give us the injections. That is the medical assistant. There is no receipt. This is at Iganga Hospital. We know the hospital has no medicine so if you want to get better you give the money.”415
Access to HIV testing was problematic. Dr. Ndyanabangi at the Ministry of Health told Human Rights Watch that beginning in 2002, the Voluntary Counseling and Testing service was expanded to become universal precisely because it was not easily accessible to rural women. 416 Dr. Ndyanabangi told Human Rights Watch that post-exposure prophylaxis417 (PEP) for rape victims were available on a small scale and although the government could not afford them previously, it intended to have a policy in place by the end of March 2003 before making the drugs fully available.418
Despite subsidization, antiretrovirals419 (ARVs) remained out of reach for the average Ugandan.420 Sules Kiliesa, an HIV-positive widow living in Tororo, illustrated the problem: “CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is now in Tororo. So we might get ARVs. But it requires a balanced diet. Without work how will we manage our diets and ARVs? My CD4 count421 is only twenty-six. I got that result on 18th October, 2002. To take the viral load I need about [Ushs]100,000 [U.S.$50.77] and I need to travel to Kampala. I can’t afford it.” 422
Dr. Opio, assistant commissioner for national disease control at the Ministry of Health, told Human Rights Watch that the government had been able to increase access to ARVs as a result of Uganda’s participation in UNAIDS initiatives.423 According to Dr. Opio, a three-drug combination424 that previously cost over U.S.$1,000 per month now costs less than U.S.$100 per month, while generics cost approximately U.S.$50.425
Dr. Peter Mugyenyi is the director of the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) which in 1992 pioneered the use of antiretroviral therapy in Uganda and treats over 70 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS. JCRC remains the largest user of ARVs in the country. In June, Dr. Mugyenyi told Human Rights Watch that the government had yet to purchase ARVs.426 Dr. Mugyenyi also said that there were no subsidies and that the largest supply of free antiretroviral drugs was provided through a research program at JCRC in collaboration with the Uganda Virus Research Institute.427 Others providing free drugs include Médecins Sans Frontières in Arua, and the Uganda Business Coalition which supplies a small number in Masaka. According to Dr. Mugyenyi, generic drugs have had the greatest impact in Uganda, although there were no official mechanisms in place for importing generic drugs. JCRC imports generic drugs privately and supplies them at cost to approximately 10,000 patients. According to Dr. Mugyenyi, any drug combinations provided at a cost below U.S.$100 are mainly those that have generic competition, with a three-drug combination such as Triomune at a cost of approximately U.S.$23.428 Dr. Ndyanabangi confirmed that the government is planning to provide ARVs to all districts, but the cost will depend on the government’s ability to import generics.429 The UAC told Human Rights Watch that it had a target group of 100,000 people.430
Robbinah Ssebbowa Ssempebwa works with Action Aid-Uganda, an international NGO that promotes AIDS awareness as part of a larger poverty alleviation mandate. She discussed the provision of ARVs: “In the area of HIV/AIDS if we talk about [mother-to-child transmission] and availing ARV’s it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that we have generic drugs in the country so that people can afford. It’s cheap compared to ten years ago. They know the number of people who are infected and we are living in that glory that Uganda is a success story and we don’t seem to be moving on to the next phase.”431
Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi at the Ministry of Health told Human Rights Watch that male condoms were provided free in government dispensaries but were not in adequate supply.432 According to Dr. Ndyanabangi, dispensaries did not receive their stock of male condoms, and some expired before distribution because of logistical errors and lack of capacity. Female condoms were available but, unlike the male condom, were not provided free in government clinics. They were also expensive and, according to the Ministry of Health, were sold at about two to three times the price of the male condom.433 Assistant Commissioner for National Disease Control at the Ministry of Health Dr. Alex Opio explained to Human Rights Watch that the female condom came historically late into the market after the male condom had been established and accepted, and that they had not imported enough for bulk distribution.434 The female condom was also reportedly bulky and noisy, and was not a viable alternative for a woman looking to protect herself without the knowledge or involvement of her partner.435 Joyce Namulondo of the UAC admitted that the government erred in failing to consider specific promotion for the female condom and intended to ensure the availability of the male condom and carry out social marketing for the female condom.436
While important to pursue, strategies focusing on abstinence, condom use, and fidelity in marriage to combat HIV/AIDS fail to take into account the legal and practical subordination of women in marriage and the role that domestic violence plays in rendering them powerless over sexual matters. Evelyn Edroma, the head of legal and tribunals at the Uganda Human Rights Commission, argued that it has been very difficult to push HIV/AIDS as a human rights concern, as opposed to strictly a health issue.437 Certainly, an abstinence approach excludes women who do not have authority over sexual interaction, while programs promoting condoms ignore the fact that women do not have the power to insist on their usage. Mother-to-child transmission programs do not take into account that men not only control funding and access to medical services, but also make the decisions about when to have children and control women’s access to prenatal care. David Serwadda, director of the Institute of Public Health at Makerere University, where he conducts research on the transmission and epidemiology of HIV/AIDS, recently wrote:
In January, the Ministry of Health informed Human Rights Watch that proposed provisions under the Public Health Act for the prosecution of certain health issues including the malicious transmission of HIV were intended to address marital rape and forced unprotected sex.439 Nevertheless, government officials familiar with government HIV/AIDS programs admitted that a sharper focus on women’s rights was needed. The National Strategic Framework for HIV/AIDS Activities (2000/1-2005/6) planning does not outline a rights-based approach. Edward Mugyimba-Nimbatsa told Human Rights Watch that HIV/AIDS programs specifically focusing on women are established through NGO networks and that the Ministry of Gender has been instrumental in establishing many women’s organizations focusing on HIV/AIDS.440 However, most of the NGOs told us they functioned largely without government support. Dr. Ndyanabangi at the Ministry of Health told Human Rights Watch that there were no major Ministry of Health studies on domestic violence and HIV/AIDS.441 Joyce Namulondo confirmed that the UAC had not included women’s rights in their programming. 442
The government is failing to support sensitization on domestic violence through the Ministry of Information or the government-owned media.443 The Uganda Media Women’s Association is a non-governmental organization for female journalists from government and private media that uses the media to promote women’s rights, and to share information on issues of relevance to women, including HIV/AIDS. Coordinator, Margaret Sentamu-Masagazi told Human Rights Watch: “If we really want to sustain human rights issues or the development of disadvantaged groups, the government has to invest heavily. Meaning they have to stop paying lip-service. . . . The Government goes on about information, yet the Ministries of Information and Gender are the least funded. Information is a major tool of development yet those Ministries are not funded. They’re not serious.” 444 The Uganda Media Women’s Association is funded completely by international donors and representatives say they are being crippled by heavy government taxes despite the fact that they are doing work the government should be doing. Although the government has promised to waive the taxes, it has so far failed to do so. Sentamu-Masagazi’s frustration was palpable. “When you talk about women’s emancipation in Uganda, it’s like they give you with one hand and take away with the other.” 445
A lack of funding has seriously hampered the operations of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and has consequently marginalized women’s issues at the government level. In its Third Country Status Report to the CEDAW Committee, the Ministry asserted: “One of the major constraints facing government machinery for the advancement of women is minimal funding. . . . The [Ministry] receives such meager resources that it cannot carry out all its programs.”446 Ministry officials confirmed that they are scaling down and that the legal department that served as a focal point for FIDA and the LAP had been scrapped, although they still follow up on cases by writing to the District offices and FIDA offices.447 According to Mugyimba-Nimbatsa, a lack of funding has meant that previous Ministry of Gender initiatives were not sustainable. He told Human Rights Watch that for the year ending 2002, the Ministry received roughly U.S.$300,000 plus donor monies of about U.S.$80,000, and the HIV/AIDS program received about 5 percent or U.S.$15,000 of that initial U.S.$300,000.
240 Human Rights Watch interview with Christine Mugerwa-Kasule, executive in charge of publicity, FIDA, Kampala, December 11, 2002. The “African Platform for Action,” states: “(73) The absence of gender-disaggregated data based on separate records for men and women, is a source of gender blindness and gender bias against women. . . . (75) The availability of timely, valid culturally relevant data is indispensable for gender-responsive policies and programmes.”
241 Human Rights Watch interview with Apolo Nsibambi, prime minister of Uganda, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
242 Human Rights Watch interview with Peace Kyabuleko, director, National Association of Women’s Organisations, Kampala, January 17, 2003.
243 The Children’s Statute of 1996 establishes Family and Children’s Courts, and outlines broad protections for children. The legislation, which draws extensively from the Convention on the Rights of the Child, includes concise provisions on the rights of Ugandan children in law and addresses the legal system’s treatment of children. See Save the Children U.K., “Save the Children, Uganda Country Report,” 2002, [online], http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/development/reg_pub/country_reports/Uganda_2002.pd f (retrieved April 2, 2003). There is no corresponding statute for women drawn from the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
244 “President Raps Bill,” The New Vision, July 22, 2003.
245 Human Rights Watch interview with Apolo Nsibambi, prime minister of Uganda, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
246 Human Rights Watch interview with Dora Byamukama, member of parliament, and coordinator, LAW-U, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
247 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, art. 21(2).
248 Ibid., art. 21(1).
249 Ibid., art. 31(1).
250 MGLSD, “Third Country Status Report,” p.70.
251 Under the Divorce Act, neither spouse can claim cruelty as a sole ground of action. The Divorce Act, 1904, sec. 2(v), (Cap. 215), Laws of Uganda. The Customary Marriage (Registration) Decree says nothing about grounds for divorce, nor does it mention cruelty. The same holds true for the Marriage and Divorce of Mohammedans Act.
252 The Divorce Act, 1904, sec. 5.
253 Ibid, sec. 22(1). A co-respondent is the person charged as having committed adultery with one’s spouse.
254 Sylvia Tamale, “Law Reform and Women’s Rights in Uganda,” p. 173.
255 The Divorce Act, 1904, secs. 24 and 25.
256 The term “maintenance” under Ugandan law is equivalent to “child support” under U.S. law when used with reference to children.
257 Email message from Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, to Human Rights Watch, March 6, 2003.
258 Section 40 provides: “No one can transfer land without the prior written consent of the spouse if: (1) the spouse ordinarily resides on this land, and (2) the spouse derives sustenance from this land.”
259 Land Sector Analysis, p. 14.
260 Human Rights Watch interview with Joanne Apecu, senior legal officer, Law Reform Commission, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
261 For example, the Land Sector Analysis found that 100 percent of women who were cohabiting, separated, or in polygynous unions felt they were unable to sell their land. Almost 93 percent of widows, and 83 percent of married women were of the same opinion. One hundred percent of cohabiting wives, 97.1 percent of married women, 75 percent of divorced women, 85.7 percent of separated women, 92.3 percent of widows, and 83.3 percent of women in polygynous unions felt that they had only user rights and could not sell or rent land, or pass on land to their children. Land Sector Analysis, appendix 1, p. 41.
262 Article 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995: “(1) Every person has a right to own property either individually or in association with others.”
263 Makerere Institute of Social Research, “The Justification for Co-ownership of Land by Spouses: A Qualitative Perspective,” p. 79.
264 Numerous socio-cultural practices inhibit women’s ownership of land, including marriage practices such as the bride price, which transfers women’s property rights to her husband, and the fact that according to custom, women marry into their husbands’ clan. Land may be allocated to the husband by the clan upon his marriage, and will revert to it at his death. Additionally, inheritance of customary land passes through patrilineal descent, and in exceptional circumstances, where daughters inherit, they receive a fraction of their brothers’ shares. Women are regarded as unable to own property in their own right, and instead hold property on trust for male kin. While widows can use the land, they cannot sell it without the clan’s acquiescence. Jacqueline Asiimwe, “Co-ownership of Land By Spouses: Should it be in the Land Act or the Domestic Relations Bill?” Gender Perspectives in the Land Reform Process in Uganda, p. 137.
265 Ibid., pp. 80-81.
266 Land Sector Analysis, p. iii. The same survey found that only 27.7 percent of women understood their rights under the Land Act. See p. iv. For an example of non-discrimination clauses under the Land Act, see section 28, which voids any decisions related to customary land tenure that deny women, children, or the disabled, the right to own or occupy land. Certificates of customary ownership are available but not obligatory. In deciding whether to award certificates, the Land Committee applies customary law but is required under the Land Act to safeguard the interests of inter alia, women. Land Act, 1998, sec. 6(1)(g).
267 Human Rights Watch interviews with Martha Nanjobe, executive director, Legal Aid Project, Kampala, January 8, 2003 and Annette Tendo, program and advocacy officer and Christine Mugerwa-Kasule, executive in charge of publicity, FIDA, Kampala, December 11, 2002.
268 Human Rights Watch interview with Irene Kakooza, advocate, Kakooza & Kawuma Advocates, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
269 Human Rights Watch interview with Miria Matembe, minister of ethics & integrity, January 13, 2003.
270 Letter from Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, president of the Republic of Uganda, to Janat Mukwaya, minister of justice and constitutional affairs, dated October 25, 2002. The letter was also copied to the vice president, prime minister, and all ministers.
271 Land Sector Analysis, p. 13.
272 Ibid., p. 14.
273 Eddie Nsamba-Gayiiya, “Legislating Land Rights for Women,” Gender Perspectives in the Land Reform Process in Uganda, p. 123.
274 Land Act, 1998, sec. 40(1). Section 28 prohibits any dealings affecting customary land that deny women access to occupation or use, or violate constitutional provisions. Land Act, 1998, sec. 28. The act also provides for female representation in land management bodies and institutions. Land Act, 1998, secs. 239, 58(30, and 66(2).
275 Human Rights Watch interview with Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, Kampala, December 14, 2002. See also Makerere Institute of Social Research, “The Justification for Co-ownership of Land by Spouses: A Qualitative Perspective,” Gender Perspectives in the Land Reform Process in Uganda, p.75. The Land Act was tabled before the sixth parliament (1995-1998) and passed into law on July 2, 1998. Although the House endorsed various principles on co-ownership, when the bill returned to Parliament for its third and final reading the clause was absent. A year later, the Speaker ruled that the amendment had been excluded as a result of a procedural omission, and that the clause would have to be introduced as an amendment to the act. In February 2000, the cabinet decided that it would be better incorporated into the Domestic Relations Bill. Some women’s groups oppose the inclusion of the clause into the Domestic Relations Bill on the basis that the principles underpinning the clause are derived from land law and should be handled as a property issue and not under potential legislation relating to marriage and family. See for example, I. Ovonji Odida, “Land, Gender and Poverty Eradication: Key Findings of a Study on Spousal Land Co-ownership,” Gender Perspectives in the Land Reform Process in Uganda, p. 98.
276 While section 40 of the Land Act protects user rights, the proposed co-ownership clause would give women an interest in land that could be formally registered. The proposed clause presumed spouses to be owners in common with separate, undivided shares in the principal place of residence, addressed customary land, and was intended to affect those in polygynous marriages. See I. Ovonji Odida, “Land, Gender and Poverty Eradication,” p. 98.
277 Human Rights Watch interview with Livingstone Sewanya, director, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Kampala, December 10, 2002. The Ugandan parliament is currently debating the Land Act (Amendments Bill) 2003. The parliament continues to exclude co-ownership as a possibility and has instead introduced amendments providing spouses with “security of occupancy” on family land (land on which the residence of the family is situated, land on which the family residence is situated and from which the family derives sustenance, land on which the family has agreed will qualify as family land, or land which is treated as family land according to the norms, culture, customs, tradition, or religion of the family.) Additionally, the requirement for spousal consent for the transfer of family land already required under section 40 of the Land Act must be given in person.
278 Human Rights Watch interview with Janat Mukwaya, minister of justice and constitutional affairs, Kampala, January 17, 2003.
279 Human Rights Watch interview with Zoe Bakoku Bakoru, minister of gender, labor & social development, Kampala, January 17, 2003.
280 Gerald Businge, “Did women activists tactfully sneak co-ownership into the new Land Bill?”
281 “President Raps Bill,” The New Vision, July 22, 2003.
282 A customary heir is someone recognized by the customs of the tribe or community as the heir. Legal heirs are the nearest living relative in degree to an intestate deceased, with lineal descendants being given preference. Even where a daughter as a lineal descendent should be given preference over collateral male relatives, often the male relatives inherit the property. See Marjolein Benschop, Rights and Reality: Are women’s equal rights to land, housing and property implemented in East Africa? (Nairobi: UN-HABITAT, 2002), p. 82.
283 Succession Act, 1964, sec. 28(1)(a).
284 UN-Habitat, Rights and Reality, p. 82.
286 Schedule 2, paras. 1 and 2.
287 Un-Habitat, Rights and Reality, p. 82.
288 The draft will not formally become a bill until it has been tabled and the cabinet has given its approval. A number of versions are currently available. For the purposes of this report, we are relying on a draft provided to us on December 10, 2002.
289 Domestic Relations Bill (Draft), secs. 13 and 15(1). In the draft provided to Human Rights Watch on December 10, 2002, section 109 of the Domestic Relations Bill provides for amendment or repeal of various laws set out in the second schedule to the draft bill. The second schedule however purports to repeal or amend these laws under section 104. These laws include the Marriage Act (Cap. 211), the Marriage of Africans Act (Cap. 212), The Marriage and Divorce of Mohamedans Act (Cap. 213), the Hindu Marriage Act (Cap. 214), the Divorce Act (Cap. 215), and the Customary Marriage (Registration Decree), 1973.
290 Domestic Relations Bill (Draft), sec. 19.
291 Ibid., sec. 60.
292 Ibid., sec. 77.
293 Ibid., sec. 95.
294 Ibid., sec. 10.
295 Human Rights Watch interview with Betty Akullo, project coordinator, Domestic Violence Project, Kampala, December 10, 2002.
296 NGOs report that although there have recently been discussions in parliament on the Domestic Relations Bill, President Museveni continues to oppose its enactment without fundamental revisions. They also report that there is still some confusion as to whether the Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development will be the lead ministry with regard to the bill.
297 Human Rights Watch interview with Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, Kampala, December 14, 2002 and Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Harriet Busingye, coordinator, Uganda Land Alliance, New York, May 7, 2003. Human Rights Watch made several unsuccessful attempts to meet with President Museveni on this issue.
298 Letter from President Museveni to Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Janat Mukwaya, October 25, 2002.
299 Human Rights Watch interview with Miria Matembe, minister of ethics and integrity, January 13, 2003.
300 Domestic Relations Bill (Draft), sec. 65. Section 65(2) states, “Where immovable property has been ascertained as matrimonial property, if not already registered, it shall be registered in the names of the husband and wife, but where such property was registered in the names of one spouse, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, it shall be deemed to be registered as matrimonial property.”
301 Domestic Relations Bill (Draft), sec. 66.
302 Domestic Relations Bill (Draft), secs. 69 and 94.
303 Gerald Businge, “Women Looking for 'Lost' Clause in Land Act,” The New Vision,October 12, 2002, [online], http://allafrica.com/stories/200210130008.html (retrieved April 1, 2003). Human Rights Watch made several unsuccessful attempts to meet with Vice President Kazibwe on this issue.
304 Human Rights Watch interview with Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, Kampala, December 14, 2002. See also “The Bill That Never Was,” The New Vision, January 28, 2003, posted January 28, 2003, [online], http://allafrica.com/stories/200301280284.html (retrieved May 9, 2003): “Surprisingly, some female legislators are decampaigning the bill in parliament. Cecilia Ogwal, the Lira Municipality Member of Parliament was reported as saying if passed, the Domestic Relations Bill ‘will destabilise families by creating disharmony and encourage women to be lazy and wait to co-own family property with their spouses.’”
305 Letter from President Museveni to Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Janat Mukwaya, October 25, 2002.
306 Human Rights Watch interview with Joanne Apecu, senior legal officer, Law Reform Commission, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
307 Domestic Relations Bill (Draft), sec. 64.
308 Ibid., sec. 70.
309 Ibid., sec. 78.
310 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Hafsa Lukwata, AUWMD, Kampala, December 19, 2002.
311 LAW-U, “Project Report on the Domestic Violence Study,” p. 81.
312 Human Rights Watch interview with Ruth Mukooyo, coordinator FIDA Legal Aid Project, Luwero, December 18, 2002.
313 Domestic Relations Bill (Draft), sec. 59.
314 Human Rights Watch interview with Joanne Apecu, senior legal officer, Law Reform Commission, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
315 Human Rights Watch interview with Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, Kampala, December 14, 2002.
316 Email message from Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, to Human Rights Watch, February 19, 2003.
317 Section 118A(1).
318 The Sexual Offences (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 1998 (draft of August 17).
319 Human Rights Watch interview with Ruth Mukooyo, project coordinator, FIDA Legal Aid Project, December 18, 2002.
320 Human Rights Watch interview with Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, Kampala, December 14, 2002.
321 Human Rights Watch interview with Livingstone Sewanya, director, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Kampala, December 10, 2002.
322 Threatening Violence, sec. 76; Common Assault, sec. 227; Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm sec. 228; Grievous Harm, sec. 212. The Penal Code, (1978 reprint), (Cap. 106), Laws of Uganda.
323 Human Rights Watch interview with Joanne Apecu, senior legal officer, Law Reform Commission, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
324 It may, however, prove difficult to obtain funding through the current ‘basket system,’ whereby funds for government legal services are collected for community justice and criminal justice reform programs, as there is already a five-year plan in place and domestic violence may not be a priority.
325 Human Rights Watch interview with Joanne Apecu, senior legal officer, Law Reform Commission, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
326 Human Rights Watch interview with Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, Kampala, December 14, 2002.
327 Human Rights Watch interview with Edward Mugyimba-Nimbatsa, assistant commissioner and focal point officer on HIV/AIDS in the Ministry of Gender, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
328 Human Rights Watch interview with Irene Kakooza, advocate, Kakooza and Kawuma Advocates, Kampala, January 8, 2003. In parliament, Member of Parliament Dora Byamukama, is chairing the Equal Opportunities standing committee, appointed by the seventh parliament to monitor measures designed to enhance equal opportunities for marginalized groups. Activists hope that the establishment of the Equal Opportunities Commission will soon follow.
329 Art. 2 states: “(1) This Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda and shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout Uganda. (2) If any other law or any custom is inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Constitution, the Constitution shall prevail, and that other law or custom shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.” Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995.
330 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, arts. 21(1) and (2).
331 Ibid., art. 33(6).
332 Human Rights Watch interview with Dipak Naker, co-director, Raising Voices, Kampala, December 10, 2002.
333 MGLSD, “Third Country Status Report,” p. 12.
334 Ibid,. art. 21(1).
335 Ibid., art. 26(2). Article 26(1) provides for the right of all Ugandans to own property.
336 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, art. 31(1).
337 The counterpart to polygyny, polyandry (where women have more than one husband) is not a legal union.
338 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, art. 31(2).
339 Ibid., art. 32(1).
340 Ibid., art. 32(2).
341 The Constitutional Review Commission was set up in March 2001 under the Commissions of Inquiry Act. Its duty is to solicit and receive opinions of all Ugandans, both in Uganda and abroad, on the present constitution.
342 E-mail message from Jackie Asiimwe-Mwesige, coordinator, UWONET, to Human Rights Watch, April 2, 2003.
343 Jacqueline Asiimwe, “Co-ownership of Land By Spouses: Should it be in the Land Act or the Domestic Relations Bill?” p. 140.
344 Human Rights Watch interview with Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi, deputy director of public prosecutions, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
345 MGLSD, “Third Country Status Report,” p. 65.
346 Human Rights Watch interview with Helen Alyek, superintendent, Child and Family Protection Unit, Nsambya Police Station, December 19, 2002. (As noted above, according to the government, out of fifty-six districts, only forty-eight are “fully fledged.”)
347 Human Rights Watch interview with Helen Alyek, superintendent, Child and Family Protection Unit, Nsambya Police Station, December 19, 2002.
348 Human Rights Watch interview with Jessica Saboni, senior police superintendent, Kampala, December 19, 2002.
349 At the police level, probation and social welfare officers may intervene to achieve an informal resolution without the necessity of going to court. They are often asked to intervene in family disputes.
350 Human Rights Watch interview with Magdalene Namatovu, Nakulabye, January 15, 2003.
351 Human Rights Watch interview with Officer Abbey-Ngako, head, domestic violence unit, Kawempe Police Station, Kampala, December 12, 2002.
352 Human Rights Watch interview with Martha Nanjobe, executive director, Legal Aid Project Offices, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
353 Human Rights Watch interview with Joanne Apecu, senior legal officer, Law Reform Commission, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
354 Human Rights Watch interview with Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi, deputy director of public prosecutions, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
355 Human Rights Watch interview with Irene Kakooza, advocate, Kakooza & Kawuma Advocates, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
356 Human Rights Watch interview with Diana K. Opolot, program officer, Slum Aid Project, Kampala, December 12, 2002.
357 Human Rights Watch interview with Officer Abbey-Ngako, officer in charge, Domestic Violence Unit, Kawempe Police Station, Kampala, December 12, 2002.
359 Human Rights Watch interview with Maureen Owor, advocate, Owor & Co. Advocates, Kampala, January 6, 2003.
360 Throughout this report the exchange rate used is 1,969.64 Uganda Shillings to the U.S. dollar, the rate at which the Bank of Uganda was selling the U.S. dollar as at March 26, 2003. See Bank of Uganda, [online], http://www.bou.or.ug/majorates_260303.htm (retrieved March 31, 2003).
361 Human Rights Watch interview with Alice Namagembe, Entebbe, December 13, 2002.
362 Human Rights Watch interview with Officer Chris Salongo, officer in charge, Child and Family Protection Unit, Kawempe Police Station, Kampala, December 12, 2002.
364 Human Rights Watch interview with Jessica Saboni, senior police superintendent, Kampala, December 19, 2002.
365 Human Rights Watch interview with Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi, deputy director of public prosecutions, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
367 Human Rights Watch interview with Jessica Saboni, senior police superintendent, Kampala, December 19, 2002.
368 The police surgeon, inter alia, provides forensic assessments of complainants, prisoners, and suspects in police custody, and presents an interpretation of their findings to the police and the courts.
369 Human Rights Watch interview with Martha Nanjobe, executive director, Legal Aid Project, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
370 A comprehensive description of the structure and functions of the Local Council Courts is detailed in the background section to this report.
371 Human Rights Watch interview with Sara Kisakye, Naguru, January 15, 2003.
372 Human Rights Watch interview with Rita Mukasa, Nakulabye, January 15, 2003.
373 Human Rights Watch interview with Jacqueline Nakitende, Naguru, January 15, 2003.
374 Human Rights Watch interview with Hadija Namuganda, Iganga, January 11, 2003.
375 Human Rights Watch interview with Betty Akullo, coordinator, Domestic Violence Project, Kampala, December 10, 2002.
376 Human Rights Watch interview with Sules Kiliesa, Tororo, December 16, 2002.
377 Human Rights Watch interview with Philip Wanyama, LC1 chair, Kampala, December 12, 2002.
378 Human Rights Watch interview with Isma Tamale, January 11, 2003.
379 Human Rights Watch interview with Pastor Wilberforce Owori, Tororo, December 16, 2002.
380 Human Rights Watch interview with Jessica Saboni, police senior superintendent, Kampala, December 19, 2002.
381 Human Rights Watch interview with Miria Matembe, minister of ethics & integrity, Kampala, January 13, 2003.
382 Human Rights Watch interview with Philip Wanyama, LC1 chair, Kampala, December 10, 2002.
383 Strengthening of the Judiciary Project, “The Strengthening of the Judiciary Project, Background,” n.d., p. 8, [online], http://www.judicature.go.ug/docs/The%20Strengthening%20of%20the%20Judiciary%20Project.pdf (retrieved April 2, 2003).
384 Human Rights Watch interview with Patrick Mutaburi, commissioner Local Councils Development, and J.J. Ssonko, Principal Personnel Office and Department of Management HIV/AIDS, Ministry of Local Government, Kampala, January 17, 2003.
385 Local Councils Administration of Justice, “Guides for Local Council Courts,” Pre-Final Draft, November 2002, (Kampala: Ministry of Local Government, 2002).
386 Human Rights Watch opposes the infliction of capital punishment in all circumstances because of its inherent cruelty. Human Rights Watch objects to the retention or reintroduction of the death penalty in all countries, and opposes executions under law whenever and wherever carried out, irrespective of the crime and the legal process leading to the imposition of the penalty.
387 Supreme Court Criminal Appeal No. 44 of 2000. (Appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal at Kampala, Manyindo DCJ, Mpagi-Bahigeine JA and Berko JA. dated 19.9.2000 in Court of Appeal Criminal Appeal No. 7 of 2000).
388 Human Rights Watch interview with Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi, deputy director of public prosecutions, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
392 Human Rights Watch interview with Martha Nanjobe, executive director, Legal Aid Project, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
393 Human Rights Watch interview with Maureen Owor, advocate, Owor & Co. Advocates, January 6, 2003.
394 MGLSD, “Third Country Status Report,” p. 65.
395 “Uganda National Integrity Survey,” submitted by CIET International to the Inspectorate of Government, Kampala, Uganda, August 1998, p. ii, [online], http://www.ciet.org/www/image/download/UGA_NIS.pdf (retrieved April 8, 2003).
396 Human Rights Watch interview with Maureen Owor, advocate, Owor & Co. Advocates, January 6, 2003.
397 Human Rights Watch interview with Zoe Bakoku Bakoru, minister of gender, labor and social development, Kampala, January 17, 2003.
398 Human Rights Watch interview with Annette Tendo, program and advocacy officer, FIDA, Kampala, December 11, 2002.
399 Human Rights Watch interview with Martha Nanjobe, executive director, Legal Aid Project, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
400 Human Rights Watch interview with Simon Byabakama-Mugenyi, deputy director of public prosecutions, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
403 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, art. 52(1)(e). “The Commission shall have the following functions – (e) to create and sustain within society the awareness of the provisions of this Constitution as the fundamental law of the people of Uganda.”
404 Human rights Watch interview with Joanne Apecu, senior legal officer, Law Reform Commission, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
405 Human Rights Watch interview with Martha Nanjobe, executive director, Legal Aid Project, Kampala, January 8, 2003.
406 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Josephine Kasolo, Kampala, December 11, 2002.
407 Human Rights Watch interview with Isma Tamale, January 11, 2003. A pseudonym has been used in this case at Tamale’s specific request.
408 The Movement ended cost sharing during the 2001 elections.
409 Uganda National Integrity Survey, p. ii.
410 MGLSD, “Third Country Status Report,” p. 48.
411 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Hafsa Lukwata, AUWMD, Kampala, December 19, 2002.
412 Human Rights Watch interview with Dan Kaye, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Makerere University Medical School, Kampala, January 15, 2003.
413 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Hafsa Lukwata, AUWMD, Kampala, December 19, 2002.
414 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Lukanika-Hitimana, executive director, AIC, Kampala, December 11, 2002.
415 Human Rights Watch interview with Lydia Mbakile, Iganga, January 11, 2003.
416 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, mental health programme, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 14, 2003.
417 A way to reduce the odds of infection by immediate use of antiretroviral medications following exposure to HIV.
418 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, mental health programme, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 14, 2003. As of May 30, 2003, the policy had not been finalized. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Rosemary Mwesige, Uganda AIDS Commission, head, National AIDS Documentation Centre, May 30, 2003.
419 “Antiretroviral drugs inhibit the replication of HIV. When antiretroviral drugs are given in combination, HIV replication and immune deterioration can be delayed, and survival and quality of life improved. Effective HIV/AIDS care requires antiretroviral therapy as a treatment option. Without access to antiretroviral therapy, people living with HIV/AIDS cannot attain the fullest possible physical and mental health and cannot play their fullest role as actors in the fight against the epidemic, because their life expectancy will be too short. . . . All people who need antiretroviral therapy should have access to it.” World Health Organization, “Antiretroviral Therapy,” n.d., [online], http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/arv/en/ (retrieved April 3, 2003).
420 For example, a three-drug combination has reduced from over U.S.$1,000 per month to less than U.S.$100 per month. Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Alex Opio, assistant commissioner for national disease control, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
421 Also known as a t-cell count, the CD4 count measures the number of T-helper lymphocytes (cells responsible for assisting other white blood cells in responding to infection, processing antigen, and triggering antibody production) per cubic millimeter of blood. It is used as a predictor of immune health. A CD4 count of less than 200 qualifies as a diagnosis of AIDS.
422 Human Rights Watch interview with Sules Kiliesa, Tororo, December 16, 2002.
423 The Drug Access Initiative (DAI) was launched in November 1997 to improve access to treatment for HIV and its opportunistic infections. The project started in Uganda in August 1998. See UNAIDS Best Practice Digest, UNAIDS HIV Drug Access Initiative: Pilot Phase, n.d., [online], http://www.unaids.org/bestpractice/digest/files/drugaccess.html (retrieved May 20, 2003). Launched in May 2000, the Accelerating Access Initiative is a joint United Nations/pharmaceutical industry scheme aimed at rapidly increasing access to ARVs in selected developing countries. See UNAIDS Fact Sheet, Global Crisis – Global Action: HIV/AIDS Care and Support, United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS, June 25-27, 2001, [online], http://www.unaids.org/fact_sheets/ungass/word/FScare_en.doc (retrieved May 27, 2003).
424 Antiretroviral medicines are usually prescribed in triple combination. The standard combination therapy or “triple cocktail treatment,” is also known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). According to Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, director of the Joint Clinical Research Center, over 60 percent of those on ARVs in Uganda use Triomune, a combination of stavudine, lamivudine, and nevirapine. A second combination Duivir-N, is anticipated. This is a combination of zidovidine, lamivudine, and nevirapine. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, director, Joint Clinical Research Center, Kampala, May 29, 2003, and e-mail message from Dr. Mugyenyi to Human Rights Watch, June 2, 2003.
425 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Alex Opio, assistant commissioner for national disease control, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 16, 2003. Edward Mugyimba-Nimbatsa, assistant commissioner and focal point officer on HIV/AIDS at the Ministry of Gender told Human Rights Watch that ARVs are subsidized through programs implemented by the Ministry of Health, and that a heavily subsidized three-drug combination cocktail of ARVs ranges from Ushs 50,000 to 70,000 (U.S.$.25.39 to 35.54). Human Rights Watch interview with Mr. Mugyimba-Nimbatsa, assistant commissioner and focal point officer on HIV/AIDS, Ministry of Gender, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
426 According to Dr. Mugyenyi, although Ministry of Health officials are highly supportive of HIV/AIDS programs, external conditions placed on the supply of ARVs have impeded their supply. These conditions include the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and patents issues, and in cases of donated drugs, that drugs be registered, which may be difficult particularly if the drugs are yet to receive approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For example, the FDA has not approved nevirapine for use of MTCT as a single dose, which is the format in which nevirapine is provided under the PMTCT programs. Additionally, data on the safety of the drugs is absent. Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, director, Joint Clinical Research Center, Kampala, May 29, 2003, and e-mail message from Dr. Mugyenyi to Human Rights Watch, June 2, 2003.
427 The program will cover approximately 2,000 people when participants are fully recruited.
428 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, director, Joint Clinical Research Center, Kampala, May 29, 2003, and e-mail message from Dr. Mugyenyi to Human Rights Watch, June 2, 2003.
429 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, mental health program, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 14, 2003.
430 Human Rights Watch interview with Joyce Namulondo, planning office, Uganda AIDS Commission, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
431 Robbinah Ssebbowa Ssempebwa, team leader Strategies for Action program, Action Aid-Uganda, Human Rights Watch Roundtable, Kampala, January 17, 2003.
432 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, mental health program, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 14, 2003.
433 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Alex Opio, assistant commissioner for national disease control, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 16, 2003. By contrast, Uganda AIDS Commission representatives told us that the female condom is priced at Ushs1000 (U.S.$ 0.51) for one, while the male condom is sold at Ushs100 (U.S.$0.05) for a pack of three, making it about thirty times more expensive. Human Rights Watch interview with Joyce Namulondo, planning office, Uganda AIDS Commission, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
434Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Alex Opio, assistant commissioner for national disease control, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
435 Ibid. In 2002, a Ugandan daily reported that participants at a workshop organized by the National Association of Women Organisations in Uganda held in Jinja claimed that the female condoms on the market were complicated to wear and that they made a lot of noise during sexual intercourse. See Esther Mukyala, “Leaders ask for better female condoms,” The New Vision, December 9, 2002, [online], http://www.newvision.co.ug/detail.php?mainNewsCategoryId=8&newsCategoryId=17&newsId=102244 (retrieved May 20, 2003).
436 Human Rights Watch interview with Joyce Namulondo, planning office, Uganda AIDS Commission, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
437 Human Rights Watch interview with Evelyn Edroma, head legal and tribunals, and Nathan Byamukama, monitoring of treaties, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
438 David Serwadda, “Beyond Abstinence,” Washington Post, May 16, 2003, p. A29, [online], http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61981-2003May15.html (retrieved May 16, 2003).
439 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, mental health program, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 14, 2003.
440 Human Rights Watch interview with Edward Mugyimba-Nimbatsa, assistant commissioner and focal point officer on HIV/AIDS, Ministry of Gender, Kampala, January 7, 2003.
441 Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, mental health programme, Ministry of Health, Kampala, January 14, 2003.
442 Human Rights Watch interview with Joyce Namulondo, planning office, Uganda AIDS Commission, Kampala, January 16, 2003.
443 State-owned media includes: The New Vision newspaper; vernacular newspapers, Bukedde, Etop, Rupiny, and Orumuri; Uganda Television; Radio Uganda; and Star Radio.
444 Human Rights Watch interview with Margaret Sentamu-Masagazi, coordinator, Uganda Media Women’s Association, Kisaasi, January 14, 2003.
446 MGLSD, “Third Country Status Report,” p. 8.
447 Human Rights Watch interview with Edward Mugyimba-Nimbatsa, assistant commissioner and focal point officer on HIV/AIDS, Ministry of Gender, Kampala , January 7, 2003.
448 Uganda has ratified or acceded to the following: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), G.A. Res. 34/180, U.N. Doc. A/34/46, entered into force September 3, 1981, and ratified by Uganda on July 23, 1985; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force March 23, 1976 and acceded to by Uganda on June 25, 1995; the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, G.A. res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (no. 16) at 59, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 302, entered into force March 23, 1976 and ratified by Uganda on November 14, 1995; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), G.A. res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N.GAOR Supp. (no. 16) at 49, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 993 U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force January 3, 1976 and acceded to by Uganda on January 21, 1987; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), G.A. Res. 217A (III), U.N. GAOR, 3d Sess., pt. 1, at 71, U.N. Doc. A/810 (1948); and the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter), adopted June 26, 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered into force October 21, 1986, ratification/accession by Uganda on May 10, 1986. Uganda has made no reservation or declaration to the ICESCR, the ICCPR, or CEDAW.