“You are useless,” a woman in northern Uganda who couldn’t use her legs was told. “You are a waste of food. You should just die so that others can eat the food.”
In northern Uganda, a region emerging from two decades of brutal fighting between the government and the Lords Resistance Army, many women with disabilities have been largely ignored in the post-reconstruction effort and are unable to get basic provisions like food, clothing, and shelter in camps, Human Rights Watch reveals in a report. Many have also been unable to access health care.
The abuse and discrimination comes from strangers, neighbors, and even family members. More than a third of the women interviewed for the report had been physically or sexually abused.
It is estimated that about 20 percent of people in Uganda have disabilities. However, this number is likely higher in the north because of limited access to healthcare and war-related injuries, like landmine or gunshot wounds.
Even humanitarian aid organizations lack specific programs to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
As Ugandans struggle to reclaim their lives, the government and humanitarian agencies need to make sure that women with disabilities are not left out.