Gender activists in Western region have urged the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to decentralize its operation to enhance easy access to services by the citizens seeking justice.
Addressing the human rights activists from western and north rift region during a 2-day workshop at Kocholia Market in Teso North constituency Busia County, Emaculate Shamala cited the presence of courts at local level as a means of fighting domestic violence, adding that it will help in administration of justice to victims of gender-based violence (GBV).
“The JSC must use its budgetary allocation to assist financially constrained victims to give evidence before court. It is important that judicial officers follow up these funds to ensure that eligible victims benefit,” said Shamala.
She challenged both the county and national government to set aside funds for civic education against gender-based violence to address high cases in the region.
“Counties and national governments should budget for civic education so that people are enlightened and educated on their rights, and how to protect themselves,” said Shamala.
She appealed to the judiciary to increase financial allocation to counties to reduce backlog of cases hence making it easier for justice to be achieved.
The participants in the workshop appreciated the training, committing themselves to be at the forefront in perpetuating and defending human rights within the community.
“We have thoroughly been enlightened about gender-based violence, and have knowledge about what to do and where to report when incidents take place,” said Tom Juma.
His sentiments were echoed by Rosemary Kotut expressing her appreciation of the program citing proper understanding of roles by different genders. “I now understand that both men and women have a role to play in eliminating gender-based violence,” said Kotut.
The participants were advised to seek guidance and better means of arbitration on family issues rather than resorting to violence.
“Instead of fighting, we have the opportunity to engage constructively on practical and mature ways to promote peace and harmonious co-existence,” Juma advised.
Busia has witnessed many shocking cases of GBV in recent days with many cases still pending in court.
By Joshua Opili and Absalom Namwalo