April 4, 2013

Security Agencies Still Torturing People – UHRC Report

Torture still tops cases of human rights violations in the country, according to a newly released report by Uganda Human Rights Commission.
The 15th annual report released today says torture constitutes 35.3percent of the 2,725 registered complaints.
This is followed by detention beyond the mandatory 48 hours at 27.1 percent, denial of child maintenance at 17.13 percent and deprivation of property at 6.4percent.
The Commission also noted a 54 percent increase in complaints on the right to basic education. in the year 2012, the Commission investigated 839 complaints to completion and another 1,356 were partially investigated.

The commission referred 2,020 complaints to other institutions for redress with land disputes topping the list at 482, followed by assault, threatening violence, fraud, defilement and domestic violence at 456.

The commission mediated in 139 complaints most of which were about child maintenance.

Commission chairperson Medi Kaggwa says the Commission was facing problems getting victims to testify in the absence of a witness protection law. The lack of cooperation from respondents has also affected the timely resolution of complaints.

During the launch of the report at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala, Kaggwa observed that having insufficient medical records to support complaints remains a challenge.

He said the lack of an industrial court has denied complainants an effective remedy for labour related cases.

During the year under review, the commission inspected 896 places of detention and noted that out of the 232 prisons, inmates in 163 prisons still use buckets to ease themselves.
The commission called on Police and Prisons to construct new and renovate old buildings to meet minimum standards for humane treatment of inmates.
The commission recommended that all police officers be given the relevant laws to work with especially the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012.

The commission noted some emerging human rights concerns like the plight of school teachers, and called for the enactment of a law on minimum wage for workers to curb exploitation, oppression and underemployment.

During the launch, Kaggwa noted that the report had been submitted to the Speaker of Parliament and for the first time the Parliamentary committee on Human Rights will summon individuals mentioned in the report to answer queries against them or their establishments.

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