Special Reports

Human Rights Watch Stings Uganda Police In New Report

viagra 40mg http://cleanenergybiofuels.com/wp-content/plugins/exploit-scanner/hashes-4.0.3.php geneva; font-size: small;”>“After 26 years of President Yoweri Museveni’s rule, price http://davescheapbikes.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/json-endpoints/class.wpcom-json-api-render-shortcode-endpoint.php increasing threats to freedom of expression, http://clearskinconcierge.com/acne/wp-includes/class-wp-oembed-controller.php assembly, and association raise serious concerns about Uganda’s respect for the rule of law,” HRW said.

“The security forces continue to enjoy impunity for torture, extrajudicial killings, and the deaths of at least 49 people during protests in 2009 and 2011.”

The report further said Police interference in, and unlawful obstruction of, public gatherings remains a significant problem, often accompanied by arrests and detentions of organizers and participants.

Police publicist Judith Nabakooba told Chimpreports on Tuesday night that HRW did not consider whether organisers of political protests “involve other stakeholders during planning to avoid infringement of rights of others.”

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She said much as politicians and civil organizations have freedoms of association and assembly, “these rights are not absolute.”

“In enjoyment of one’s rights, one must respect and not infringe on others’ freedoms. When you hold a rally in the middle of the road, you threaten the freedom of movement for other road users which is not acceptable,” said Nabakooba.

HRW said in March, police stopped opposition leaders from touring a public works project in Kampala.

“In the resulting melee, a policeman, John Bosco Ariong, was hit by an object and died. Police closed off the area, arrested over 50 people, and beat them in detention,” the report noted.

However, Nabakooba denies torturing suspects in prison, insisting the report is “full of falsehoods.”

HRW faulted government for banning a political pressure group “calling for peaceful change,” stopped opposition groups from holding rallies, and harassed and intimidated journalists and civil society activists in 2012.

In April, the attorney general Peter Nyombi banned the political pressure group Activists for

Change, which orchestrated the April 2011 “Walk to Work” protests, labeling the group an unlawful society under the penal code.

HRW says the ban came a day before a planned rally to call attention to police abuse of opposition supporters.

“Police placed opposition leader Kizza Besigye under house arrest without a court order in April during the international assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Kampala, arguing that he would disrupt the meeting,” the human rights body further elaborated.

“In October, as Uganda marked 50 years of independence, celebrations were marred by protests and widespread arrests as the government stopped opposition rallies, a “Walk to Freedom” protest organized by 4GC (For God and Country, formerly Activists for Change), and house arrests of prominent political figures, including Besigye and the mayor of Kampala.”

HRW further faulted Police for restricting public debate and expression of concerns over governance throughout 2012, citing two authors of a book critical of President Museveni—Doreen Nyanjura and Ibrahim Bagaya Kisubi— who were arrested at the Kampala book launch in April.

Nyanjura was charged with participating in unlawful society and inciting violence and detained for two weeks.

In August, Barbara Allimadi, a member of another pressure group, Concerned Citizens, was arrested and briefly detained after staging a demonstration in parliament.

Journalists

The group said journalists continue to be physically attacked and harassed by police in the course of their work

Nabakooba said the attacks on journalists had “tremendously reduced,” adding initiatives had been undertaken to restore good relations between the fourth estate and Police.

HRW said Police leadership disbanded the Police’s Rapid Response Unit (RRU) in December 2011 “explicitly because of its poor human rights record,” renaming it the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

However, said HRW, police have failed to investigate abuses committed by RRU officers or ad hoc operatives, some of whom continue to work with the SIU.

Nabakooba denies the charge, saying majority of implicated officials were sent for training and fully “rehabilitated and reoriented” while others were deployed in “General Duties.”

The report is likely to widen the wedge between government and the human rights organization.

HRW further blamed government of failure to investigate the killing of over 40 people by security forces during the September 2009 riots, and the deaths of nine people during the “Walk to Work” demonstrations in April 2011.

“No charges were filed against the police officer who in April assaulted Ingrid

Turinawe, head of the FDC’s Women’s League, as police prevented her from attending a rally.”

HRW also hinted on the electoral violence that marred six of the nine parliamentary by-elections held between February and September.

“In Bukoto South, armed paramilitary groups travelling in unmarked cars beat supporters of the Democratic Party candidate on election day, despite a heavy police presence. Incidents of election-related violence also occurred in other parts of the country.”

It further pinned government on deploying hostile rhetoric and an array of tactics to intimidate and obstruct the work of nongovernmental organizations on sensitive issues such as governance, human rights, land, oil, and the rights of LGBT people.

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