The Albertine regional police commander Deo Obura has called upon the human rights defenders in Bunyoro to always work with Police while advocating for better services.
Obura said human rights defenders must work in guidance of the Public Order Management, which regulates public assemblies.
“Police do not work in isolation while enforcing the law. Remember that the Police are employed to serve the community. Police are flexible and encourages dialogue in case of any challenges while upholding rights of citizens,” Obura said.
He added that some people misuse their rights while inflicting pain on other parties thus destabilizing the community.
“There is no home, place or country without regulations,” Obura said.
Robert Kirenga, the executive director of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders in Uganda, called upon everyone acting in that capacity of a defender to always be peaceful and non-partisan.
He added that they want to enlighten the civil and political leadership within the albertine region of what human rights defenders are , what they do and where the derive their legitimacy and their contribution to socio economic transformation of the country.
“A human rights defender is one who advocates for the protection and promotion of human rights. That should be done in a peaceful and non-partisan way. There is no need for a defender to engage in violence,” Kirenga said.
Meanwhile, some human rights defenders accused Police officials of deliberately intimidating them and failing to give them an audience.
Makolo Mulumba from Masindi said, “Some Police officers act like they are above the law. Even when you try to present your issues in line with the law, there are those who openly tell you that they are not interested in listening to your line of argument.”
Nasser Bbiira Kiwanuka, a worker with the Mid Western Region Anti Corruption Coalition (MIRAC), said many people working with state organs do not appreciate the work of human rights defenders.
“Most of us have been branded saboteurs of government programmes just because we openly speak out about issues that concern the ordinary person,” Bbiira said.
The Albertine region police are responsible for all the districts in Bunyoro which include; Masindi, Hoima, Kibaale, Buliisa, and Kagadi. Others are Kiryandongo, Kakumiro, and Kikuube.