UN wants govt to outlaw polygamy

THE UN Human Rights Committee has asked the Government to outlaw polygamy.

The UN said the matter should be treated as a priority. It wants female circumcision outlawed and offenders penalised as a means to eradicate it.

The UN was responding to the Government’s report on a range of human rights issues which it filed last year. It is now expected to respond to the new questions by May.

“The committee notes with concern the continued existence of customs and traditions in the state party that affect the principle of equality of men and women,” it said.

It was concerned that polygamy was legal in Uganda though “incompatible with equality of treatment with regard to the right to marry.”

It said the Domestic Relations Bill does not sufficiently address the issue.

The report said the government had acknowledged the persistence of female genital mutilation though the constitution prohibits cultures, customs and traditions which negate the dignity of women.

The report also wants answers on questions of liberty and security in northern Uganda, in the camps, on abducted children, and on safe houses.

“The state party should take immediate and effective measures to protect the rights to life and liberty of the civilian population in areas of armed conflict, such as those in northern Uganda, from violations by members of the security.

The report expresses concern over “the broad array of crimes for which the death penalty may be imposed” and the long periods, which prisoners spend on death row before execution.

It also demands that Uganda abolishes imprisonment for debt.