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Uganda: Geographical location of the Iteso people and whether among them, women are forced to marry their brother-in-law in the event of the sister's death. If yes, consequences for women who refuse such forced marriage

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 12 September 2001
Citation / Document Symbol UGA37758.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Uganda: Geographical location of the Iteso people and whether among them, women are forced to marry their brother-in-law in the event of the sister's death. If yes, consequences for women who refuse such forced marriage, 12 September 2001, UGA37758.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4bebb8.html [accessed 25 September 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Estimated to about 8 per cent of the Ugandan total population (Encyclopaedia of the Third World 1992, 2004; Uganda: A Country Study 1990, 65), "the Iteso (people of the Teso) are an acculturated branch of the eastern Nilotic language speakers [and] the Teso territory stretches south from Karamoja into the well-watered region of Lake Kyoha" (ibid.).

Please see attachment from Uganda: A County Study for an Ugandan map showing the location of the Iteso ethnic group.

In a 7 September 2000 correspondence with the Research Directorate, a professor at the Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics, Department of population Studies of the Ugandan Makerere University and also one of the authors of a 1999 study entitled "The Effects of the AIDS epidemic on widowhood in Northern Uganda" stated the following.

Among some ethnic groups in Uganda including the Iteso of Northeast it is a practice that widows are required to be inherited by their in-laws, ie brothers or male cousins of the deceased husbands.

If the widow refuses, she may not access her late husband's properties and be told to return to her natal home, where the relatives would be required to reimburse the bride price of tens of cows.

Describing the remarriage phenomena among different Ugandan ethnic groups, the authors of "The Effects of the AIDS epidemic on widowhood in Northern Uganda" wrote:

In Uganda, most of the ethnic groups practised levirate customs of widow inheritance as found among the Banyankore and Bagisu (Roscoe 19923, 1994), Langi (Harley 1940), Iteso (Lawrance 1997), Bakiga (Edel 1957; Yeld 1973), Batoro (Perlman 1966), Alur (Southall 1997), Acholi (Kisekka 1989) and Lugbara (Middleton 1992). In all these tribes, the brother of the deceased man was supposed to inherit the widow and also care for her children (Magazi 1991; Kirumira 1992; Olowo-Freers and Barton 1992).

[. ...]

On the other hand, men are less affected by being widowed, because of the prevalence of polygyny: many widowers have other wives with whom they continue marital life when one wife dies. In the situation of monogamous, the parents of the dead wife would replace her with a sister to look after the motherless children. This was common among the Baganda, Banyankore, Basoga, Basebei (Roscoe 1991, 1923, 1924), Bakiga (Edel 1957), Jie of Karamja (Lamphear 1973) and Bakonjo (Kisekka 1989).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

The Encyclopaedia of the Third World. 1992. 4th ed. Vol. 3. Edited by George Thomas Kurian. New York: Facts on File.

The Continuing Africa HIV/AIDS Epidemic. 1999. James P.M Ntozi et all. "The Effects of the AIDS epidemic on Widowhood in Northern Uganda." [Accessed 5 Sept. 2001]

Uganda: A Country Study. 1990. Edited by Rita M. Byrnes. Washington, DC: Secretary of the Army.

Professor at the Institute of Statistics and Applied economics, Department of Population Studies of Makerere University. 7 September 2001. Correspondence.

Attachment

Uganda: A Country Study. 1990. Edited by Rita M. Byrnes. Washington, DC: Secretary of the Army, p. 50.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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