Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) together with other partners like Committee Against Torture (CAT) have finalized plans to join the rest of the World in Commemoration of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture held annually every 23rd June.
While addressing the press in a joint press briefing held in Kampala , Lady Justice Mariam Wangadya the Chairperson of UHRC revealed that they have already kicked off they have officially commenced with the pre comemoration activities as a form of creating awareness and sensitization among the communities.
On Monday, 26 June 2023, one community dialogue will be conducted within Gulu district to commemorate the Day but also raise awareness about torture, the existing response mechanisms jointly with the duty bearers in the district and CAT-UHRC partners.
There will be a side Medico-Legal, psycho-social camp during the community dialogue to enable screening and offering of basic counselling and response. Similarly, four Barazas will be conducted in the Sebei sub-region in Eastern Uganda, 2 in Kapchorwa, in Bukwo and 1 in Kween.
“Anti-Torture Football Gala within a football gala will be held on Saturday, 24th June 2023 in Kampala District for networking and strengthening partnership by CAT-UHRC, Torture Survivors, Journalists and the community members where the gala will be held.”
Wangadya adds that there will also be a side medical, legal, psycho-social camp for onsite referrals and dissemination of torture response and prevention information materials.
“All these activities will climax into the main event which will be a National Public Dialogue on Monday, 26th June 2023, at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala. The Dialogue will involve Government officials, the academia,survivors of torture, political and opinion leaders, Media personnel, Civil society and the general public.”
Recommendations for the June 2023 Commemoration
The State should appropriate more financial resources to the UHRC to enable it effectively perform its torture prevention, response and accountability roles as established in the Constitution and UHRC Act 1995.
Uganda Police Force and the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions should operationalise the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Regulations 2017 to enable effective documentation,investigation and prosecution of torture complaints.
The State should train criminal juştice actors and health workers on the value of effective documentation and investigation of torture using
the Istanbul Protocol of 1998. The Istanbul Protocol of 1998 is. amanual on effective documentation and investigation of torture.
On 9th and 10th November 2022, the Committee Against Torture (CAT) reviewed Uganda in its 75th Session. On 22nd November 2022, a number of recommendations during the concluding observations were made. The recommendations were along four main issues; (a) Monitoring Places of Detention, (b) Documentation, Investigation and Prosecution of Torture cases and (c) Reparation and Rehabilitation and (d) Prevention of Human Trafficking, Re dress and Rehabilitation of survivors.