Increasing Defilement, Early Marriages in Refugee Camps Worry Leaders

Refugee and local leaders in West Nile have raised a red flag over the increasing cases of defilement and early marriages involving young boys and girls in the refugee camps.

With the continued closure of schools and bad cultural norms that depict girls as sources of wealth among the refugee and local communities, the leaders have raised concern and called for immediate intervention.

Moses Wenga, a refugee welfare council in Bidibidi base camp in Yumbe district, says the cases of defilement for the last five months are worrying. According to Wenga, some parents even go to the extent of negotiating the marriage of their children with the hope of getting wealth.

Edward Ndaa, the Arua District Community Development Officer, says records from all the Sub counties in greater Arua including Terego and Madi Okollo indicate that defilement and child marriages as the leading forms of child abuse. Ndaa appeals to different key players to ensure that all vices relating to Child abuse are fought to protect their future.  

Josephine Angucia, the West Nile Region Police Spokesperson, says they have intensified community policing both in refugee camps and the host communities to end cases of child abuse.

Some sources intimated to URN that since the nationwide lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic that saw the closure of schools and restriction of movements, some families have resorted to battering their girl children with men for financial support.

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