The Uganda Human Rights Commission—UHRC is demanding for a permanent solution to the escalating violence as a result of demonstrations in the country. Commissioner Agaba Maguru says the death of Assistant Inspector of Police John Bosco Ariong on Wednesday, during the Activists for Change procession emanated from the discrepancies that exist between the police and the public on managing demonstrations.
Just two days after a police officer was stoned to death during riots in Kampala, the Uganda Human Rights Commission—UHRC is demanding for a permanent solution to the escalating violence as a result of demonstrations in the country.
Agaba Maguru, a commissioner at the Human Rights body says the solution to the violence lies before the parliamentary committee on legal affairs chaired by Stephen Tashobya, who are redefining the public order management bill.
Maguru says enacting a public order management law shall provide the solutions to the violence as a result of demonstrations leading to the loss of lives.
Addressing journalists in Kampala in Friday, Maguru said that the death of Assistant Inspector of Police John Bosco Ariong on Wednesday, during the Activists for Change procession from St Balikundembe towards Kampala road, emanated from the discrepancies that exist between the police and the public on managing demonstrations.
Maguru says the UHRC has witnessed several cases involving the use of excessive force on the side of the police and the public pelting stones at the police as a result of the lack of clear guidelines on managing demonstrations. In 2009, the UHRC designed a demonstration guideline manual, which he says would have provided a solution to the violence existing now.
Cue in: “If these guidelines …
Cebu out: …law and order sector.
A copy of the UHRC guidelines seen by Uganda Radio Network says that in case of a planned demonstration, there shall be a police officer to be in charge of dealing directly with the chief organiser to determine an appropriate traffic plan that allows the free flow of vehicles, pedestrians and participants.
The direct police officer shall also to carry out a risk assessment before the demonstration and notify the chief organisers, provide a written explanation and legal justification regarding refusal or change of plan of the demonstration. The guidelines also call for the police and demonstrators to ensure the gathering or procession is dispersed in an orderly manner before the hour of 6:00 pm.
According to the guidelines, police may intervene in a demonstration in cases of criminal behaviour, breach of peace, anticipated imminent violent situations, and sight of any weapon or firearm and or the use of any potentially dangerous weapon.
The guidelines also stipulate that the demonstrators shall have to identify a chief organiser for the demonstration and obtain permission from relevant bodies for restricted venues/gazetted places for the demonstrations.
Others include ensuring that the participants are unarmed and law abiding.
The demonstrators also have to ensure safety of person and property during the demonstration, comply with the law and lawful orders, take responsibility for their individual actions and comply with the agreed demonstration plan.
The guidelines also stipulate that the participants should comply with the rules and maintain focus on the purpose of the demonstration, and identify and report spoilers and criminals to the stewards, police and organisers.
Maguru, however, maintains that any law on public order management should embrace freedom of assembly, and peaceful demonstrations as enshrined in the Uganda constitution and other binding international instruments to which Uganda is a signatory.
Since April 2011, police and opposition demonstrators have engaged in several violent battles before, during and after rallies. While demonstrators say it is their right as enshrined in the constitution to gather/assemble and hold rallies, police say such rallies and processions have to be authorized first.
uganda human rights commission
public order management bill 2011
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