ARUA. Arua district council has unanimously approved an action plan that seeks to address gender-based violence (GBV) among communities.

While tabling the motion on the floor of the council on Thursday, the district secretary for community services Mr Augustine Vuni said GBV is one of the ways in which human rights are violated and promote gender prejudice thus undermining human dignity.

“The detailed 5-year strategic framework developed to guide and coordinate the implementation of GBV, prevention and response interventions across all implementing partners in the district”, Vuni said.

He said the local action plan aims to nurture the environment in Arua that makes it a violence-free district.

In Arua district, many cases of GBV remain invisible because it is seen as a taboo to report or talk about gender-based violence.

Efforts to prevent GBV are not always understood as contributing to the protection or upholding of human rights. The situation is made worse by the low levels of awareness of gender relations, the existence of porous borders, refugee influx and how they can be improved in the community for peaceful co-existence.

Mr Geoffrey Ogutu, the project officer of prevention+ project at Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) Arua branch said “we are thankful to Arua district council for endorsing the local action plan (LAP), the LAP documents are in line with RHU commitment to fulfil her mandate of fighting GBV in partnership with other civil society organisations under GBV network”.

He added that the action plan also spells out policy guidelines and legal framework on strategies to tackle violence at all levels.

“It is likely going to play an invaluable role in attracting support from donors and other stakeholders. We commend Arua district local government for the commitment showed in preventing GBV in the district”, Ogutu said.