Crossing closed: How women on the Uganda-Rwanda border are coping

2019-10-05 13:40
This August 1, 2019 image shows a view of the deserted no man's land at the border of Rwanda in Goma, (AFP)

This August 1, 2019 image shows a view of the deserted no man's land at the border of Rwanda in Goma, (AFP)

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Uganda and Rwanda are embroiled in an ongoing diplomatic row that has seen major border crossings between the countries closed since late February. Caught in the crossfire are women whose livelihoods depend on the free movement of goods, services and people across the Uganda-Rwanda border. 

In June, three civil society organisations filed a lawsuit on behalf of women traders against the Rwandan and Ugandan governments, alleging that the border closures infringe on multiple provisions of the 1999 Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community - including violating the economic rights of women to engage in trade. 

Hopes for improved relations were raised on August 21, when the presidents of both countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at ending months of tensions. But the two countries aren't planning to discuss the thorny issue of the border until at least mid-October. 

In the meantime, women who rely on cross-border trade to make a living are struggling to get by. Al Jazeera visited the border town of Katuna to find out how they are adapting to these trying new circumstances.

Read more on:    uganda  |  rwanda  |  east africa

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