Experts highlight obstacles in justice for child abuse cases in Uganda

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Experts highlight obstacles in justice for child abuse cases in Uganda
Emmanuel Ahimbisibwe, National Director Compassion International Uganda speaking to the media

As Uganda prepares to host the 2024 continental commemoration of the Day of the African Child (DAC) this Sunday, experts are drawing attention to the numerous obstacles hindering the path to justice in child protection and abuse cases.

Furthermore, experts have criticized parents and guardians who accept gifts from child rights abusers and choose to settle privately, thereby denying justice to the victims.

These concerns were raised during events organized by Compassion International and which brought together religious leaders to discuss children's rights.

Emmanuel Ahimbisibwe, the national director of Compassion International Uganda, expressed significant concerns about the persistent challenges facing child protection in the country. Despite efforts to reach vulnerable children through partnerships with local churches, systemic issues continue to impede progress.

Ahimbisibwe noted that although many child protection and abuse cases are reported, the journey to justice is riddled with obstacles.

"For instance, in some communities, beating a child severely is not considered child abuse," he explained. This cultural acceptance of corporal punishment poses a significant barrier to protecting children.

Additionally, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) remain prevalent. Ahimbisibwe highlighted that many communities do not recognize the detrimental effects of these practices, further complicating efforts to ensure the well-being of children.

One major impediment, Ahimbisibwe revealed, is the community-based handling of abuse cases, which often involves local leaders and parents resolving matters privately, usually in exchange for gifts.

"They receive goods, like alcohol, and choose to settle things out of court. This significantly hampers the pursuit of justice for the child," he lamented.

He also emphasized the organization's struggle with limited resources amidst growing needs.

"We have minimal tools to effectively reach out to those in need, and we are constrained," he stated, urging increased support from partners and stakeholders to address these challenges and make a substantial impact on the lives of children.

Bishop Enos Kitto Kagodo of Mukono Diocese encouraged everyone to view children as gifts from God.

"God has entrusted us with the responsibility of caring for these young ones on His behalf. This means that we must show them love in a godly manner."

He added, "As parents, it is our duty to guide and discipline them, showing them the right path to follow."

Bishop Kagodo challenged parents to refrain from relinquishing the responsibility of caring for their children to the government, reminding them that "they are our own."

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