Private Citizens, Police take lead positions in Human Rights Violations -ACTV and UHRC

KAMPALA– As Uganda prepares to join the rest of the world in commemoration of the UN Day in support of Torture Victims scheduled for 24th June 2024, the coalition Against Torture in Uganda chaired by African center for Treatment of Torture Victim ( ACTV) together with Uganda Humman Rights Commission (UHRC) have expressed concern that although government has taken in observing freedom against torture , a lot needs to be done for citizens to enjoy its full realization.

Representatives from Uganda Human Rights Commission and African Center for Treatment of Torture Victims , addressing the press in Kampala on Wednesday. (Courtesy photo)

“Over the past year (June 26th, 2023 to date), we have seen a growing

Interest by the general public in combating torture through using the relevant Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) like phones and digital -based application to expose the culprits. For example around April 20th, there was a video circulating online of one Shakira Naula who was tied up and flogged by her Muslim family members for praying in a Pentecostal church. This happened at Bugolya Parish, Kadama Sub-County in Kibuku district.” Samuel Herbert Nsubuga Executive Director ACTV told Journalist at UHRC head offices in Kampala

He also emphasized that capturing of such videos, the attention they normally attract coupled with the increasing number of online users who dedicate their platforms to highlighting human rights violations in general, is a

Demonstration that the general public is increasingly becoming conscious of their human rights and freedoms. “It is also a wake-up call to all duty bearers and other human rights activists to give these issues the due attention required.”

“Security agencies in general , Police in particular are the highest perpetrators human rights violations followed by private citizens taking the matters in their hands thus committing human rights violations.”

That theme for this year being “Torture free communities for all” is aimed at creating more awareness among private citizens because over years , the focus has been about mainly creating awareness among security agencies.

The 25th and the 26th Annual Reports on the State of Human Rights in the Country, show increasing cases of torture committed by private individuals. ACTV have equally noted a persistent

Rise in torture related complaints registered against private individuals; That is, 103 complaints in 2018, 394 complaints in 2019, 104 complaints in 2020, 166 complaints in 2021, 136 complaints in 2022 and 150 in 2023 making a total of 1,053 complaints.

UHRC Commissioner , Crispin Kaheru (Left) and Samuel Herbert Nsubuga , Chief Executive Officer of ACTV at UHRC offices sharing light moments after the press conference.

ACTV in its training programmes, it now also train security agencies and other stake holders using trauma informed approach, where they talk about stress and provide physco social support

Byonabye Kamadi , the Director Education at UHRC , reported that as the commission, the low budget has greatly affected their operations especially in the last Financial Year where they couldn’t manage to investigate most of the cases which were filed before them.

“ The Commission was given 100 million Shillings to investigate all Human Rights violations country wide ( in its 12 regional offices). We spent most of the time receiving complaints from victims physically (those who came to our offices) and through phone calls. It became difficult for us to go in the field and conduct investigations on the matters reported.” He added

Call to Action

Security Agencies have been asked to continue with regular training programmes for their personnel on Human Rights standards and Anti-torture laws and a module on trauma informed approach in investigations.

Secondly, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs should allocate financial resources to a compensation fund for torture victims or survivors annually to enable timely receipt of compensatory awards.

The Parliament has been asked to consider enacting the Witness Protection Bill 2015, the National Legal Aid Bill and the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill into law to foster human rights protection and access to justice.

The Health Ministry also has been asked developing and adopting a policy on rehabilitation for victims and survivors of torture in order to improve documentation and aid access to justice.

On Prosecution side, the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is reminded to consider double its efforts in capacity building for state prosecutors on effective investigation and documentation of torture related complaints manual.

Commemoration of UN Day in support of Torture Victims

The series of activities lined up include media activities starting from 17th to 26 June 2024 like: TV & Radio talk shows, X space, social media campaigns, Newspaper pull out, info-text SMS messages about torture and where to report, TV and Radio spot messages.

On 26th June 2024; community dialogues will be held in Kaabong and Gulu districts in Northern Uganda and the main Commemoration event will be held at Railway Grounds in Kampala with Gen Kahinda Otafiire as the Chief walker/ Guest.

These activities have been funded by USAID, Danish Government and other partners.




























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