The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has expressed worry over the increasing cases of torture and inhuman treatment by some errant individuals in security agencies.
While addressing the media at Uganda Media Centre, Dr. Katabalirwe Amooti wa Irumba, the acting chairperson of UHRC said the torture of innocent people is still on the rise.
“Torture is still on the rise even in Uganda as indicated in available records which show that from 2015 to 2018, the Uganda Human Rights Commission handled and provided redress for 1,377 cases of torture, while its partners, the ACTV provided treatment and rehabilitation to a total of 6,548 torture survivors (4,606 Male and 1,942 female),” he revealed.
He said the commission has received a total of 238 (203 Male and 35 Female) torture complaints since the COVID-19 pandemic period started to date, out of which 150 were reported against the Uganda Police Force, 83 against the UPDF and 5 against the Uganda Prison Service.
He called upon the DPP and other law enforcement agencies to step up the use of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act of 2012 in prosecuting both state and non-state perpetrators of torture.
“Uganda Police should popularize the use of Form 4 of the 2017 Regulations to the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture during documentation and investigations of cases for prosecution under this law,” he said.
He said security agencies should be more vigilant in enforcing professionalism and discipline among their officers and should punish errant officers and urgently organise training for newly recruited Local Defense Units (LDUs) and periodic refresher courses to serving security officers.
“Government should urgently ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture 2006 and provide access to places of detention to NGOs to strengthen monitoring,” he noted.
He also urged the Ministry of Finance to clear the outstanding compensatory awards ordered for torture survivors by both Uganda Human Rights Commission’s tribunals and the mainstream courts of law.
He also implored the members of the public to speak out against torture by reporting incidents of torture within their communities to the Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Uganda Police, and other established institutions.