National Dialogue Highlights Urgent Push for Gender Norm Elimination to Combat Violence: 75 Years of UDHR


In a groundbreaking discussion at the National Dialogue marking 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the spotlight shifted towards challenging gender norms as a crucial strategy against gender-based violence.

The event, hosted at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, drew officials from diverse sectors, including the Uganda Prisons, electoral commission, the Judiciary, the army, and human rights advocates.

Laura Criado, program coordinator of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), emphasized the imperative for governmental, cultural, and religious leaders to recognize that entrenched gender norms contribute to alarming rates of gender-based violence and teenage pregnancies.

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Acknowledging the gradual nature of societal change, Criado called for a united effort from civil society organizations, religious leaders, government, and cultural institutions to address these deeply rooted issues.

“The social norms embedded in the public cannot change instantly, calling for a collective response of all stakeholders like civil society organizations, religious leaders, government, and cultural institutions to address the issue of gender social norms,” he said.

While lauding Uganda for enacting laws supporting gender equality, Criado underscored a significant gap in implementation.

Deputy Chief Justice Richard Butera urged the protection of human rights and the rule of law as essential for achieving Sustainable Development Goals and Vision 2040.

Dr. Zahara Nampewo, Executive Director of the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC), urged the government to uphold all human rights for Ugandans. Despite Uganda’s age of 61, Nampewo highlighted persisting challenges, including high rates human rights abuses .

She emphasized the need for comprehensive addressing of issues to truly embody the principles of the 75 years of UDHR, by the human rights defenders

“Uganda at 61 years of age still registers up to 284 human rights abuse cases out of every 100,000 and has high maternal mortality rates because of several reasons. For Uganda to say that it is observing human rights and enjoying the guarantees of the 75 years of UDHR there are so many issues that the country needs to address. Human rights defenders should diligently safeguard the rights of all Ugandans, regardless of the challenges the country is facing.”

As the National Dialogue concludes, the urgent push to challenge gender norms takes center stage. Commemorating 75 years of the UDHR, the call for unified action resonates, emphasizing the ongoing journey toward gender equality and human rights in Uganda.

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