국제앰네스티는 우간다 정부에 성폭력 및 가정폭력 피해여성에 사법적 정의와 관련해 지원을 제공하도록 요청했다. 이 같은 요청은 피해 여성들이 직면한 문제를 다룬 새로운 보고서에 담겨 있다.
국제앰네스티 보고서 『값비싼 사법적 정의-우간다 내 여성 폭력』 은 가해자 심문 및 관료들의 차별을 포함해 피해여성들의 사법적 정의에 걸림돌이 되는 경제적·사회적 문제들에 대해 이야기한다.
우간다 내 여성피해자들은 혐의자를 체포하는데.
드는 경찰 교통비, 법의학 검사비용, 조사와관련된 경비를 감당해야 한다. 뿐만 아니라, 많은 피해여성들은 제대로 교육받지 않은 경찰과 변호사로부터 사생활과 이전 성생활에 대한 수치스러운 질문을 받기도 한다.
우간다 정부는 종종 피해자들의 정의를 말하기에 앞서 “가정”의 중요성을 내세우는데, 이 때문에 일부 경찰들이 ‘성폭력은 여성들 잘못’이라는 잘못된 통념을 갖고 범죄에 불충분한 대응을 하고 있다.
국제앰네스티 위드니 브라운(Widney Brown) 부국장은 “우간다 정부가 성폭력 피해자들을 보호하고 지원하지 않고 있는 상황이 정의 추구의 토대를 허문다”고 일침을 놓았다.
그는 “정부의 지원 및 정치적 의지 부족은 가해자들에 대한 재판이 거의 이뤄지고 있지 않음을 반증하는 것”이라며, “우간다 여성들은 사법체계에 대한 신뢰를 잃었다”고 지적한다.
국제앰네스티는 우간다 정부에 여성폭력 생존자들을 위해 법적인 지원과 건강, 안전, 안식처 제공 등 즉각적인 대책을 요구했다. 또 피해자들에 대한 차별적인 태도를 변화시켜 근본적으로 여성 범죄를 예방하고, 여성들의 사법적 정의를 막는 장애물들을 제거하도록 촉구했다.
“우간다 정부는 법과 정책, 관행을 엄격히 재검토할 필요가 있다. 여성의 권리에 대한 미사여구와 그 권리들을 실제로 보호하고 실행하는데 실패한 현실 사이의 크나큰 간극을 해결해야 한다.” 위드니 브라운 국장은 덧붙였다.
VICTIMS OF RAPE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE DENIED JUSTICE IN UGANDA
7 April 2010Amnesty International has urged the Ugandan authorities to provide support for women seeking justice for sexual and domestic violence in a new report highlighting the barriers faced by the victims.
I Can’t Afford Justice – Violence against women in Uganda documents the economic and social obstacles to justice, including the costs of criminal investigations and discrimination by government officials.
Victims are left facing inadequate responses by police, having to pay for the cost of police transportation to arrest the accused, forensic examination fees and other expenses related to the investigation.
Some official responses to sexual violence also reflect a widely held attitude that the women are to blame for sexual violence in a country where the government often appears to promote “preservation of the family unit” ahead of justice for victims. “The failure of the government to protect and support victims of sexual violence undermines the quest for justice,” said Widney Brown, a senior director of Amnesty International. “Lack of government resources and political will mean that perpetrators rarely face justice. Women in Uganda have been left with no faith in the justice system.”
Violence against women and girls in Uganda remains widespread. Two thirds of women who have experienced domestic violence say it was perpetrated by an intimate partner, while one in four women report that their first sexual experience was forced.
The report documents several personal accounts highlighting how the police, prosecution service and the courts are underfunded and understaffed. These in turn become obstacles to women accessing justice as the criminal justice system lacks the resources to provide these services to victims.
“When I went to the police station they asked me for money for fuel which I did not have. My husband beat me again but I gave up going to the police because they always ask for money which I don’t have,” one victim told Amnesty International.
There is no state-run shelter for victims of gender-based violence. Women are also turned away from charity-run shelters due to lack of space and legal aid institutions are overwhelmed with cases of gender-based violence. Many women endure violent situations simply because they have nowhere else to go.
Official attitudes mean many women feel that they have no choice but to accept mediation and stay in a violent relationship in spite of the danger because they have no viable means of supporting themselves or their children. As a result, many women are stripped of their right to be free from violence and to the equal protection of the law.
Even when the police finally take a report seriously, there are few systems in place to protect the victims. Counsellors at a women’s shelter told Amnesty International about a 13-year-old victim who reported years of sexual violence by her father. She has come forward to report the rapes but now faces intimidation from her relatives and fears her safety. Her case worker believes she is not safe where she is right now.
While the report exposes the need for the government to adequately resource the criminal justice system to ensure that perpetrators of violence against women can be brought to justice, it also reveals that the government has not taken some basic measures to make the system work for women.
For example, there is no privacy for the victim whose report is taken in a public office even as she is required to give intimate details of the violence.
Many women Amnesty International spoke to said they were subjected to humiliating lines of questioning about their private lives and prior sexual conduct by inadequately trained police and defence lawyers.
The government of Uganda is also falling short of its international obligation to ensure women’s access to justice. As a result, perpetrators escape prosecution and punishment for their crimes.
“The Ugandan government needs to take a hard look at its laws, policies and practices and close the vast chasm between its rhetoric of respect for women’s rights and its abject failure to protect and fulfil those same rights,” said Widney Brown.
Amnesty International urges the government to take immediate action to provide survivors of violence against women with legal support and related health, safety and shelter needs.
It should also take steps to prevent violence against women by addressing its root causes by transforming discriminatory attitudes and remove the obstacles impeding women’s access to justice.