Human Rights commission says they are investigating Kyengera safe house

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The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has said they too have taken interest in investigating claims about the presence of a safe house in Kyengera, along the Kampala- Masaka highway in Wakiso district.

On Thursday, the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga directed the parliamentary human rights committee to investigate the issue of presence of safe houses that are allegedly being used by security agencies as torture chambers.

Addressing journalists on Friday, UHRC chairperson, Medi Kaggwa said they too had taken interest in the investigation after several complaints from members of the public.

“Of late, our attention has been drawn to reports of a safe house in Kyengera and other areas. We do take interest in the matter,” Kaggwa said.

He revealed that he would raise the matter with security chiefs during a meeting scheduled to happen soon to find out the truth in the matter.

Following the closure of Nalufenya detention centre, it is alleged that safe houses operated by security agencies have replaced the facility in Jinja district.

On Thursday, the Kawempe North Member of Parliament, Latif Ssebaggala raised the issue of safe houses as a  matter of national importance claiming that he has got reports of two detention centres in Kyengera and Kalangala where a number of people have allegedly been tortured by people claiming to work for security agencies.

“Madam Speaker this is a serious allegation that needs our indulgence because we have seen several cases of people disappearing with no traces. When you go to police cells they are not there either, we need to investigate this,” Ssebaggala said.

MPs Ssebagala and Kasiano Wadri of Arua municipality told parliament that majority of those that have been incarcerated in these safe houses are politicians, lawyers among others who they said have been denied access to their relatives, medical personnel and lawyers.

The MPs accused several government agencies like the Internal Security Organisation for being behind these safe houses.

Addressing journalists on Friday, the Uganda Human Rights Commission chairperson said whereas security agencies are mandated to keep law and order and their prerogative to arrest any citizen suspected to have committed any offence, they are also mandated to observe human rights.

“We are cognizant of the provisions of the Constitution under Article 23 which clearly outlines the circumstances under which a person should be deprived of the right to personal liberty; as well the rights of arrested or detained persons which must be protected and respected,”Kaggwa said.

Kadaga on Thursday directed the Security Minister, Gen.Elly Tumwine to come and explain the issue of safe houses to the August House.


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