Gov't asked to establish specialised courts for children living with disability

Gov't asked to establish specialised courts for children living with disability
Minister Asamo

The rising incidents of sexual exploitation involving children with disabilities in Uganda have prompted experts to call for the establishment of specialized courts dedicated to handling cases involving these children.

The main objective of this initiative is to create a safe space where children with disabilities can freely express themselves.

Hellen Asamo, the Minister of State for Disabilities, emphasised the significant challenge related to the sexual abuse of children, particularly those with disabilities.

She highlighted the unfortunate prevalence of early pregnancies among these children, who are often left unattended and vulnerable to exploitation.

"Tragically, these young victims may not even be aware of the identities of those who impregnated them within their communities. The prevalence of such exploitation is notably high among young girls facing mental challenges,"she said.

She suggested that unscrupulous individuals take advantage of their vulnerability discreetly.

Challenges faced by children with disabilities in Uganda include negative attitudes from the public and even within the disabled community, poverty, and limited access to essential services such as mobility appliances and sign language interpretation due to high costs.

Asamo highlighted various government initiatives aimed at addressing rights issues among children living with disabilities.

"The government has implemented several initiatives to address the challenges faced by people with disabilities. These initiatives include awareness campaigns, aiming to shed light on the issues at hand.However, despite these efforts, there is still a persistent problem of men exploiting vulnerable young girls."

To counteract this, the ministry is actively conducting counseling services, encouraging young girls to avoid early pregnancies and gather evidence

The minister proposed castration and life imprisonment for men who sexually abuse young girls.

Demon Wamara, the Executive Director of the Uganda Child Rights NGO Network, pointed out that a lack of funds for thorough investigations into cases brought by children with disabilities contributes to the aggravation of the issue.

Flavia Kabahenda, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Gender Committee, emphasized the need for specialized courts.

She stressed the importance of creating a space where victims, especially those who cannot verbally communicate, can use signs to express their experiences.

Experts note that this problem is particularly pronounced among individuals with intellectual disabilities, deaf-blind individuals, those with hearing impairments, and those with physical mobility disabilities.

Insufficient budget allocation, especially for social services catering to children with disabilities, is also identified as a barrier to effectively addressing this issue.

The establishment of specialized courts is seen as a crucial step in providing justice and support to children with disabilities who have been victims of sexual exploitation

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