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Covid-19: UHRC Records 238 Torture Complaints, Urges Security Agencies to Step Up Torture Eradication

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has applauded security Agencies in the country for their tremendous change towards the observance of human rights.

While addressing the press at Uganda Media Centre, Dr. Katabalirwe Amooti wa Irumba, the Acting Chairperson of UHRC revealed that security agencies have tried to improve on how they treat people while implementing the presidential directives as regards the prevention of COVID19.

He pointed out that during the first days of the lockdown, security officials were brutal and harsh but with time there has been an improvement.

Katabalirwe attributed this improvement to President Museveni who directed security agencies to refrain from acts of brutality against citizens during enforcement of the lockdown and curfew measures.

“The improvements are also attributed to Uganda Human Rights Commission’s regular strategic engagements with the leadership of the various security agencies whose positive responses have yielded the current reduction of reported cases of human rights violations during the recent past,” he said.

He, therefore, asked them to continue with in the same path through all their operations.

“UHRC and partners generally note developments by the Government of Uganda that are aimed it realizing the full enjoyment of the right to freedom from torture which, among others, involve measures such as the recent prosecution of some errant security officers by courts of law including the UPDF Court Martial,” he asserted.

Katabalirwe has, on the other hand, expressed worry on the increasing cases of torture and inhuman treatment by some errant individuals in some security Agencies.

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“Regrettably, torture is still on the rise even in Uganda as indicated in available records which show that from 2015 to 2018, the Uganda Human Rights Commission handled and provided redress for 1,377 cases of torture, while its partners, the ACTV provided treatment and rehabilitation to a total of 6,548 torture survivors (4,606 Male and 1,942 female),” he revealed.

That on top of that, the commission has received a total of 238 (203 Male and 35 Female) torture complaints since the COVID-19 pandemic period started to date, out of which 150 were reported against the Uganda Police Force, 83 against the UPDF and 5 against the Uganda Prison Service.

Therefore they have called upon the DPP and other law enforcement agencies to step up the use of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act of 2012 in prosecuting both state and non-state perpetrators of torture.

This year’s ‘UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture’ is going to be held scientifically on Friday, June 26, 2020 via various media and social media platforms under the theme: ‘Speak Out Against Torture During and After COVID-19”

At this event the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) will release its Annual Report for 2019.

 

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