UHRC: Police Human Rights Violations Still Worrying, Despite Trainings

UHRC Chairman, Meddie Kaggwa (in checkered necktie) appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Thursday

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has expressed concern over the continued failure by the Uganda Police Force to comply with human rights, despite the numerous trainings.

The rights watchdog say that this poor compliance has partly been aided by regular recruitments of police personnel, some of who join the Force with no knowledge of human rights.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Meddie Kaggwa says that police as an institution remains the biggest violator of human rights compared to other security agencies.

Kaggwa said this on Thursday while appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to present the Commission’s budget proposal for the financial year 2018/19 that stands at over Shs 49 billion.
This budget is to cater for civic education, staff motivation, payment of arrears among other expenditure.

Kaggwa told Parliament that it is unfortunate that police keeps deaf ears on several recommendations and advice given to it by UHRC on improving human rights hence continued acts of violating suspects’ rights.

“We have as a Commission trained police officers on human rights but we are yet to receive the wanted results; we shall not tire from that, we shall continue engaging them but we also call upon the committee to try to pass this same information to them,” Kaggwa said.

Kaggwa noted that the police should do better as other security agencies.

“When we write the annual reports, we mention who has violated more and engage tahem thereafter, the Police responds but not on a regular basis and at times we find it difficult to get a response from them until we physically meet the director of human rights who is the focal person”.

“We acknowldge that some of our recommendations have been implemented, such as putting in place the Directorate of Human Rights. But this change is insignificant compared to other security agencies”.

The MPs on the committee asked the human rights Commission to interest themselves in making daily routine monitoring of different detention centers, including the Nakigo police post in Iganga district that is becoming a ‘torture chamber’ of suspects.

“I think it should be a daily routine that you move around inspecting the detention centres because even in Kampala, many of our people are detained over trivial matters and on civil matters that ought not to have been the case,” said Bukooli MP, Gaster Mugoya.

Torture remains the most recorded human rights violation in Uganda with the police accounting for a majority of the incidents, according to a report released Thursday by the Human Rights Commission.

“Whereas there is a comprehensive legal regime that prevents and prohibits torture, this violation is still persistent and rampant,” Chairman Katebalirwe Amooti said, adding torture had been used as a means to justice.

For many year, Police has topped the UHRC annual reports as the institution that commits the most human rights violations.

Torture remains the biggest form of human rights violations by police. A total of 1,658 cases of torture were registered between 2012 and 2016.

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