Women rights’ groups have decried the delay by the East African Community presidents to assent to the anti-female genital mutilation Bill, almost two years after it was passed by the regional assembly.
The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (Fida-Uganda) met with the East African Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Legal, Rules and Privileges at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania on Monday in a bid to push for the revival of debate and assentation of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, 2016.
“We find it really necessary for the Community leaders to sign the anti-FGM Bill into a law to totally ban the practice in the Community,” said Ms Dora Byamukama, a member of Fida Uganda.
The lawyers also called for the assent of the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Bill, 2016, saying girls and women continued to suffer the most.
"Trafficking is a cross-border crime that takes advantage of our porous borders," said Ms Lilian Adriko, the Fida Uganda chief executive.
The women called for co-operation and collaboration of the EAC member states by enacting the laws in order to stem the vices.
The lawyers also paid a courtesy call on Eala Speaker Martin Ngoga and submitted their petition.
According to the EAC Treaty, Article 63(2) a Bill that has not received assent within three months from the date on which it was passed by the Assembly shall be referred back to the Assembly, giving reasons, and with a request that the Bill or a particular provision thereof be reconsidered by the Assembly.
Article 63(3) states that if the Assembly discusses and approves the Bill, the Bill shall be re-submitted to the Heads of State for assent.