Human Rights Watch has released a report documenting discrimination and violence against women with disabilities in northern Uganda and suggesting key recommendations for addressing this problem.
Approximately 20% of Ugandans have disabilities, according to available data, and there is reason to believe the proportion is even higher in the northern region, where rebels have been waging war against the official government for nearly two decades.
Over one-third of the women interviewed by Human Rights Watch reported suffering some form of sexual or gender-based violence. Often, women with disabilities find themselves trapped in abusive relationships due to their social and financial dependence on family members. Many women report meeting discouragement when attempting to report sexual or gender-based violence to authorities.
Women with disabilities are facing even greater trials now that most people are beginning to leave the camps established for those internally displaced. The report registers the concern that women with disabilities will be left behind in the rebuilding process. Social attitudes do not support their independence, and there may not be potable water or adequate law enforcement or health services at destination points.
The report issued recommendations for the government to allocate funding to aid vulnerable populations, especially women with disabilities, and to dedicate itself to combating obstacles blocking access to health care and the justice system.
Compiled from: “As If We Weren’t Human”: Discrimination and Violence against Women with Disabilities in Northern Uganda, Human Rights Watch, WUNRN.com (2 September 2010).