UHRC Demands Implementation of Anti-Torture Law

2103 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission UHRC Meddie Ssozi Kaggwa emphasizes that torture is a criminal matter that attracts penalties under the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture Act, 2012 which law he says ought to be implemented to reduce cases of torture.

Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has called for the implementation of the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture Act, 2012 as Uganda commemorates the UN International Day In Support Of Victims of Torture. 

The day is held annually on June 26 to speak out against the crime of torture and to honor and support victims and survivors throughout the world. 

The Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Meddie Ssozi Kaggwa emphasizes that torture is a criminal matter that attracts penalties under the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture Act, 2012 which law he says ought to be implemented to reduce cases of torture.

According to the law, a person who performs any act of torture commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for 15 years or to a fine of 7.2 million Shillings or both.

But Kaggwa says that often offenders are left off the hook while victims ensure lifelong humiliation and suffering as a result of torture. He says that the trial of officers engaged in acts of torture through the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) of Police does not send a strong message against the vice.

Kaggwa was speaking to Journalists at the CHOGM gardens of parliament following a city walk to mark the United Nations (UN) day in support of victims of torture.
 
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In its 19th report released last month about the Status of Human Rights in Uganda, the commission pointed out that torture still dominated the list of human rights violations in the country. The report indicates that the state of torture in the country has reached a scale of epidemic proportions where the victims under government detention suffered brutality of varying harshness which, in some cases, resulted in death.

It cited incidents of individuals being subjected to physical and psychological suffering from beatings, plucking out of fingernails, electric shock, mock executions, rape, and denial of food among other forms of brutality.

With 620 cases, the Uganda Police Force and its auxiliary units held the highest number of torture complaints filed against it.

Another report released last year by the Africa Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV), shows that 1,227 suspects were tortured in Uganda in 2015. This was an increase from the 1,002 torture suspects the year before.
 
Meanwhile, Kaggwa reveals that the UHRC budget for the next financial year has been enhanced to increase on civic education especially among security agencies.
 
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The country was recently treated to testimonies of torture against police in particular with gruesome images of suspects in the murder of former police commander Andrew Felix Kaweesi making rounds in the public. Some of these suspects were seen limping while others displaying scars of healing wounds allegedly inflicted on them while in Nalufenya police detention facility in Jinja district.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.