As Uganda celebrated the World Human Rights Day on Thursday, the Uganda Human Rights Commission together with players in the security sector has asked civilians to stay away from acts of violence and disobedience of the law “if they are to fully enjoy their rights.”
Addressing the gathering at Mestil Hotel Kampala in commemoration of the World Human Rights day, Hon Sarah Kanyike, the Minister for Elderly and Disabled who was the chief guest, warned Ugandans not to be taken by the excitement which comes with the electoral process.
“During this process we have to ensure that we are peaceful so that we can live to celebrate the fruits of the elections we are about to participate in,” Kanyike said.
She asked citizens to always respect each other, avoid provoking security agencies in the course of their duty as well as heed all the measures put in place by Government.
“As citizens we are duty bound to know and enjoy our rights without infringing on other people’s rights. Once you infringe on other people’s rights then you will be in direct confrontation with the law enforcement agencies,” she added.
Various representatives from security agencies present promised to continue protecting Ugandans as per their mandate throughout the ongoing electoral process and beyond.
These also clarified that they don’t condone actions of human rights violations pointing out that on many occasions, they have been able to punish several officers who have been found guilty of misbehaving.
Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye, one of the army representatives in Parliament, said that elections are a sign of democracy but people should maintain peace and stability during this process because peace and democracy move hand in hand.
He pointed out that on various occasions, security personnel, while on their operations, have been provoked by civilians although people don’t notice it.
“Several errant officers have been punished after being charged before the Military Court martial. We therefore ask the public to respect the officers on duty,” Gen Kulayigye said.
AIGP Asan Kasingye, the Political Commissar in Uganda Police, asked people to always ensure that as they enjoy their rights, they don’t violate other people’s rights.
“Let us not think that it’s only the security agencies with the duty of protecting the rights but we should know that it’s every body’s responsibility,” Kasingye said.
He promised that they have in place measures to ensure that all errant police men face the law to answer for their deeds.
“We have some of our officers who go beyond their mandate in the course of duty and we have brought many of them to book where they are held personally liable for any human rights violation of misconduct,” he noted.
Unlike the previous occasions, this year’s event was held scientifically by the Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and its partners in observance of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).