Teenage Pregnancy and Human Rights Violation on the Rise in Western Uganda
Kibaale - 4 th December 2021:
A baseline report from Hope Centre Foundation has indicated that
teenage pregnancy in the eight districts of Kibaale, Kagadi, Kakumiro, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Kikuube,
Hoima and Ntoroko is at 26 per cent (74,000 girls).
The report has been launched at Karuguuza Development Radio, in Karuguuza Kibaale district today 4th December, 2021.
This press release is strategically based on the recent Rapid Teenage Pregnancy Assessment Survey
(RTPAS 2021) that was conducted across the various regions of Uganda but in special interest this release is for the eight districts in Bunyoro Sub region (Western Uganda)
The study was undertaken during August and September 2021 by Hope Centre Foundation in
collaboration with the Special Monitoring Mission Volunteers in the eight districts located in the Western region of Uganda. Specifically the survey targeted pregnant girls aged between 10 to 18 years who become pregnant during the COVID-19 lockdown and in special interest we wanted to assess the level of human rights violation of the respondents by either the community members or family members. Noted Kyomuhendo Noeline, Protection Officer at Hope Centre Foundation who represented the ED Hope Centre Foundation.
It was revealed that 32 per cent of the pregnant teenagers were exposed to a given form of torture;
physical or psychological from relatives and community members. 18 per cent had reported cases to
relevant authorities but with no action taken while the rest didn’t report due to the intimidation fear
pushed against them.
During our follow up phase of the study, we revisited the respective respondents who revealed that they were facing some kind of torture in October / November 2021, and this was particularly aimed at obtaining the magnitude of human rights violation to aid us as an organization together with our partners; the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC) come up with more effective and strategic programmes in addressing the issue.
There was a general lack of awareness among the communities on what punishment entails and many
parents felt that children must be punished for becoming pregnant at an early age but were ignorant of the
negative impact of certain kinds of punishments to children
– explained Kyomuhendo Noeline, Protection Officer at Hope Centre Foundation.
Respondents in Focus Group Discussions attributed torture of pregnant girls to poverty situations during
the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to the poverty escalated by the COVID-19, some parents have decided to send off their girls for marriage so that they can be paid off some money as dowry,” said a woman in Kyabaseke, Kikuube district, the study reports.
A 16-year-old girl in Buhirigi, Hoima said, “It’s from my aunt’s decision that I got pregnant after
bringing a man at home. After getting pregnant, she abuses me daily and at times denies me food”
Other reasons for an increase in the violation of human rights of pregnant teenagers were corruption of public officers who decide to “sit” on reported cases which gives the victim no hope.
“There is need for multipronged strategies aimed at attitude change in a bid to eliminate inhumane acts such as explaining the negative consequences of torture, child labour and the benefits of school-going,“Noeline noted.
She further appealed to Government to intensify efforts geared towards improving household incomes such as Improving agriculture through the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) and also streamlining transparency in all public offices such as the office of the district probation, police and the gender and labour offices
Akusi Emmanuel, Programs Officer Hope Centre Foundation noted that the issue of human rights violation has shifted to various forms among which is gender based violence and domestic violence.
We shall engage our partners, the United Organization’s and the International Human Rights
Commission for a streamlined project that shall cut across the SDGs while zeroing down human rights
violation. However, we may start with the “Let her study campaign” where we shall advocate for the
right to education of the affected children
– Akusi Emmanuel
The radio program resolved that there should be joint effort in addressing human rights from different actors including the local community, public and private sectors and also civil society organizations. The program was attended by different stakeholders among them district chairperson and the district speaker kibaale district