DAA News Network

Uganda: ‘As If We Weren't Human': Discrimination and Violence against Women with Disabilities in Northern Uganda

Posted 31/8-10 at 12.26

"At a community meeting, they didn't allow me to talk. It happens to all persons with disabilities. It is as if we weren't human ... On occasions when food is being given, sometimes persons with disabilities are given what others leave behind on their plates."
Jennifer, disabled woman, Gulu district, Northern Uganda

Woman sitting on a ground with her head looking away at the background


Human Rights Watch has just (Aug. 26th 2010) released a report on the horrendous discrimination and sexual and gender-based violence experienced by disabled women in Northern Uganda, a region ravaged by war for almost 20 years.

Now people are leaving the camps and returning home. However, the government and most NGOs are not taking into account the needs of disabled women.

Besides being vulnerable to physical assault, disabled women and girls are unable to get basic provisions such as food, clothing, and shelter in camps for displaced persons or in their own communities

One disabled woman who lived in a camp recounted that people said to her, "You are useless. You are a waste of food. You should just die so that others can eat the food."

Among the report's recommendations is that the government should address the needs of disabled women in post-conflict development plans and programs, as well as ensure access to mainstream government programs, particularly with regard to sexual and gender-based violence, reproductive health and HIV.

The report also recommends that humanitarian aid organizations (most of which have no disability policy) join with disabled people's organizations to ensure that information about the resettlement process and support services reach them.




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