The Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe has said Ugandans ought to do a lot in regards observation of human rights so they are never again by defined by atrocities of former president Idi Amin Dada.
It is estimated by the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva that between 80,000 and 300,000 people were killed by Amin during his eight year tenure as president of Uganda whereas Amnesty international put the figure at 500,000 out of the 12 million Ugandans at the time.
Speaking during the celebrations to commemorate 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Katureebe said that on many occasions, Ugandan has been defined by atrocities committed by Amin and his then state agents but said there is need to throw away the tag.
“On many occasions when I travel and tell people that I am from Uganda, many ask where the country is but also many know Uganda because of Amin. We cannot continue being defined by such human rights violations,”Katureebe said at the Railway grounds on Monday afternoon.
The chief justice reminisced the Amin era where a number of people killed by state agencies whereas others were killed in public on the firing squad.
He said the country’s name ought to be mentioned only for the good things including human rights observance other than the bad deeds like Arua incident among others.
“We cannot continue to be defined by the past bad deeds. Europe had the worst atrocities but they have moved on. Germany is no longer defined by Hitler and atrocities committed by the Nazis. We cannot have our name recited if there is no respect for each other’s human rights,” he said.
The chief justice challenged everyone in a leadership position to ensure that human rights of their subordinates are respected.
The Uganda Human Rights Commission Chairperson, Med Kaggwa said despite great strides made in advancement of human rights in Uganda, there are still a number of challenges.
“There are still many regrettable reports of human rights violations including torture, brutal arrest and murders but we reiterate our commitment to ensure human rights are upheld,”Kaggwa said.
He asked security agencies to refrain from any acts of violation of human rights while doing their duties but on the other side asked the public to be law abiding.
Human Rights Network Uganda’s Patrick Kaboyo said there are many impediments to observation of human rights in the country including brutal arrest and detention of human rights defenders.
“We shall continue holding government accountable for any human rights violations in the country,”Kaboyo said.
He urged the Uganda Human Rights Commission to interest itself in the various break-ins at offices of several human rights bodies.