A group photo of WHRDS raising the online GBV handbook guide for WHRDS

WHRDN-U CONDUCTS ALBERTINE REGIONAL COORDINATION MEETING

On 19th May 2022, Women Human Rights Defenders Network Uganda organised a regional cordination meeting for Women Human Rights Defenders in the Albertine region in Hoima district. The meeting held at Hoima Resort hotel consisted of 22 WHRDS from Hoima (6), Masindi(5), Bullisa (6), Kagadi(2), Kiryandongo (1). This meeting was held in line with the efforts of WHRDN-U to achieve a well-coordinated national feminist Holistic protection program and a secure working environment for WHRDs in Uganda.

WHRDS attending the Albertine regional coordination meeting
                                                           WHRDS attending the Albertine regional coordination meeting

Objectives of the meeting were to

  • To strengthen local support systems to offer timely response to WHRDs under attack in West Nile Region.
  • To offer a training on how to fill the case incidence form
  • To understand why one is unable to receive support whenever attacked

Ms Beatrice Rukanyanga the district focal person welcomed everyone to the meeting and told all the participants to share and interact freely and made an emphasis that,Human rights activism work is given from God and it’s in our Blood despite the fact that defenders are attacked every day, we still continue to defend Human rights. Individually we cannot stand but when we work as a team it’s hard for the community to attack and pin us down, we have to work as a team and support one anotherShe further encouraged members to carry out solidarity visits among themselves.

The district focal person Beatrice Rukanyanga giving her opening remarks
                                       The district focal person Beatrice Rukanyanga giving her opening remarks

Remarks from Gender Officer, Ms Kabatalya Joyce

Kabatalya Joyce thanked the WHRDS for the good work they were doing in their different communities.She said there are very many cases of violation of human rights at grass root levels and was glad to see a group of brave women who are risking their lives to defend the rights of such people, she encouraged the WHRDS to continue with this good work and re-assured her support whenever needed. I am ready and willing to work with you, the different government institution have to work with you and you with them so that to make a big impact in the community

Ms Kabatalya Joyce giving her opening remarks
                                                             Ms Kabatalya Joyce giving her opening remarks

Poster presentation and dissemination of the online GBV handbook for WHRDS.

Posters were distributed to members and each one was tasked to pin them in their work places to help create visibility of the network.

handing over a poster to the gender officer
                                                                           Handing over a poster to the gender officer
A group photo of WHRDS raising the online GBV handbook guide for WHRDS
                                     A group photo of WHRDS raising the online GBV handbook guide for WHRDS

By conclusion of the meeting, participants knew the different ways of strengthening the local support system in case of attacks, shared action points on how they would support one other and also learnt how to fill in the incidence forms.

Group photo at RELLA foundation

WHRDN-U pays solidarity visit to Rella Foundation

Following a report and request from Rella Foundation, on 5th/May 2022, a delegation of WHRDN-U  participated in the solidarity visit   to RELLA foundation

The delegation consisted of 7 WHRDs, 3WHRDs working on Sex workers rights from Arua, Kabarole and Kampala, 1 on GBV from Jinja and 3 on LBQT Rights from Kampala.

RELLA Foundation offers response to LBQTs at risk by providing different services like shelter where they receive psychology needs and expressed challenges they face.

  • security threats with the local council since the law does not protect them thus leading to criminalizing them all the time in the community.
  • Burnout and exhaustion leading to stress from work they do
  • issues of confidentiality is a big challenge to the people at the shelter
Solidarity visit at RELLA Foundation
Solidarity visit at RELLA Foundation

WHRDN-U pledged to provide support inform of protection, grant to buy the bedsheets, mattresses, blankets, towels and buckets

Acholi WHRDNU Network members present MP Betty Aol a position paper

Acholi Women Human Rights Defenders Regional Network meet with Gulu City Woman MP

On 2nd May 2022, 22 Women Human Rights Defenders from the Acholi Women Human Rights Defenders Regional Network met with Gulu City Woman MP, Hon Aol Betty Achan at her community office in Gulu City. The WHRDs who came from Gulu, Kitgum, Omoro, Pader, Nwoya, Lamwo and Amuru districts.

Adubo Diana, one of the WHRDs in the region took lead in this session outlined the various Gender based threats and intimidation they face that in their work of of GBV, land rights, promotion of rights for persons with disabilities, journalists, children, LBQT, sex work. She outlined these Gender specific attacks that include;

  • Instead of producing children, you are busy loitering, stop messing up your life as a woman
  • Gender discrimination. People don’t want to associate with you in the community.
  • No wonder you are single, which man can stay with a loud woman like you. Women are supposed to soft spoken always.
  • I cannot marry a woman like you. You are like a fellow man. Women like you are not marriage material.
  • Baby hater(If advocating for family planning and safe abortion)
  • Exclusion from clan land ownership committees.

The meeting offered a great opportunity in establishing a working relationship with the MP and the Acholi WHRDs requested the MP to create a platform to engage the Human Rights Parliamentary Committee and her office act as a referral point to WHRDS to report violations they encounter.

In her speech, MP Aol Betty appreciated the WHRDs for their activism and support they offer in upholding human rights especially of all people regardless of  gender, age and occupation. She also committed to create a platform to discuss their issues with the Human Rights Parliamentary Committee, the Gender Parliamentary Committee and the Speaker of Parliament.
The Acholi WHRDs also handed over a position paper and Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill to the MP.
Acholi WHRDNU Network members present MP Betty Aol a position paper
Acholi WHRDNU Network members present MP Betty Aol a position paper