Human rights defenders under the Human Rights Defenders Union (HRDU) want Mariam Wangadya, the chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission, to resign for allegedly siding with security agencies that torture people.
The call was made during a news conference convened to highlight the continued persecution of human rights defenders, activists and other civil society actors.
The activists told The Nile Post that on several occasions, Wangadya has taken to her twitter account to caution individuals, accusing them of trying to tarnish the image of security agencies. She has accused activists of portraying security agencies as the leading human rights abusers.
Gawaya Tegulle, the lawyer of the union, said that it’s unfortunate that the person who was trusted to defend human rights openly shows that she supports impunity perpetuated by security forces in the country.
“She is not fit to hold that office, as a person she may be competent in other areas. Clearly her talents are not compatible and neither her conduct and sentiments compatible with what is required to hold the office of chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission. We want to invite the Parliament ton inquire into the conduct of Ms Mariam Wangadya because she is not fit for that office, “said Tegulle
He said it would have been wise if she steps down for other people to take over who can’t support law breakers because bad apples will take advantage of that to continue torturing suspects during arrest and in their custody.
Mwafrika Nnalongo Namata the co-founder of the HRDU called upon Parliament to expedite the Human rights Defenders Bill into law to reinforce the Anti-Torture Act and Human Rights Act such that serve as a reference point on handling activists especially when found in the line of legitimate activism.
“Police have made it a habit to brutalise activists during arrests and within police facilities. With little or no adherence to due process as per the legal requirement. Those apprehended are met with intimidation and degrading treatment,” she noted.