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June 1, 2005

Police Frustrate Deaf Girls' Rape Cases, Says Unad

From:, Africa - Jun 1, 2005

New Vision (Kampala)
May 31, 2005
Posted to the web June 1, 2005

By Chris Kiwawulo
THE Police have been accused of declining to gather evidence to help in prosecuting men who rape deaf girls.

The Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) gender and theatre coordinator, Florence Mukasa, says despite reporting rape cases to the Police, offences were increasing daily.

"The Police are dismissing deaf girls' rape cases, claiming lack of communication and yet UNAD can provide sign language interpreters," Mukasa says.

The Constitution and the 1948 United Nations Human Rights Declaration stipulates that every human being is entitled to his or her human rights.

Police spokesperson Asuman Mugenyi says they have taken note of the problem and are planning to train people in sign language to handle deaf persons' cases.

Mugenyi, however, says the Police are constrained by funds, as there is no money readily available to train interpreters.

"At times we get wrong interpretations of their (deaf persons') sign language and we end up misunderstanding what one meant," Mugenyi says.

He assured the deaf of services, adding that they would also cater for people with other disabilities.

Mukasa says UNAD feels deaf females' rights have gone beyond violation to a situation that they cannot explain.

She attacked some deaf girls' parents for accepting to drop rape cases even when there was concrete evidence to implicate the culprits.

"Even the parents accept to drop or settle cases out of court, if the suspect offers them money. But does anybody know the trauma left on the raped deaf girl?" Mukasa asked.

She says that with such a sickening background and trauma in their memories, a few deaf women can fight for their rights.

"While other women are struggling to get wealth, deaf women struggle to be first recognised as women and later as deaf persons. We feel we should not be left out," Mukasa lamented.

The National Women Council (NWC) chairperson, Rose Muyinda, says through women councils at district and sub-county levels, they mobilise women, including the disabled. Muyinda said their main target is to fight HIV/AIDS among the women, adding that the disabled, like the lame, deaf and dumb, were most vulnerable.

"In line with the NWC overall goal of organising and supporting the development of women to enhance their contribution towards sustainable social and economic development, we have come up with a three-year strategic plan to engage more in pro-active activities," Muyinda says.

She called for streamlining of relationships between women councils and local councils in various districts to enable the implementation of government programmes.

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