ANPPCAN argues that the one year sentence is not commensurate to the crime committed and the pain suffered by the toddler and the medical costs incurred by the baby's single mother. They describe the sentence as a mockery of Justice adding that deterrent sentences should be given to dissuade offenders.
Child rights activists are challenging a one year prison sentence awarded to Stella Namuwonge,
a woman who inserted smashed razorblades into her step daughter's private parts.
The challenge is pioneered by the African Network for Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) through an appeal to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
Masaka Chief Magistrate Mary Ikit on October 22nd passed the sentence after finding Namuwonge guilty of causing grievous harm to a then three weeks old baby Babirye Nakungu.
ANPPCAN argues that the one year sentence is not commensurate to the crime committed and the pain suffered by the toddler and the medical costs incurred by the baby's mother. They describe the sentence as a mockery of Justice adding that deterrent sentences should be given to dissuade offenders.
It adds that the effects to the child and the rest of the family with a likelihood of both immediate and long term reproductive health challenges to the victim who had to undergo several surgeries. It explains further that the child still has problems passing urine and can't crawl at one year and a half.
The organization's Executive Director Anselm Wandega said that the message being put across by the courts is that one can inflict grievous harm on a child and get away with a light sentence.
â€œIn a society where morals are at an all-time law and the spirit of community altruism already eroded, courts of law are seen as the only place of solace.â€ Said Wandega. My fear is that sentences like these one leave vulnerable citizens with nowhere to run to.â€ He added.
Wandega added that this is one of the reasons why the trend of physical abuse against children is on the increase.
A study by ANPPCAN in 2012 revealed that at least 80% of the children interviewed had suffered physical abuse. The organization also says it has registered 287 cases of physical abuse against children since 2013 and the 2013 police report shows that 1,332 cases of child abuse and torture were reported.
Article 37 of the United Nations Conventions on the rights of the Child (UNCRC), obliges states' parties to ensure that no child is subjected to torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment. Article 24 of the constitution also states that no person shall be subjected to any form of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.