Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Human Rights Commission has asked security agencies to refrain from shooting people as it were last week during protests prompted by the arrest of National Unity Platform – NUP Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi.
The Acting Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba told the press today that security agencies should be well organised and use proportionate legal methods of dealing with such situations such that lives are not lost.
By Friday 20th, official figures indicated that a total of 49 people lost lives during the protests that erupted across the country after Kyagulanyi had been arrested in Luuka district. Majority of the deaths were from gun related injuries.
Dr. Katebalirwe says that as an agency that advices government, they advise security agencies to stop shooting people.
Dr. Katebalirwe further urged leaders to be responsible when speaking such that they do not alarm the public. He was responding to a question regarding remarks made by Security Minister Henry Tumwine that security has a right to shoot and kill civilians when they are attacked.
Lawyers under their organizations; Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity, Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association, Network for Public Interest Lawyers, Uganda Catholic Lawyers Association and Muslim Center for Justice and Law came out over the weekend and rebuked Tumwine’s words saying that security personnel can only kill when attacked by armed people.
Now Dr. Katebalirwe says, whether the Minister’s assertions are backed by law or not, as a commission they advise against shooting people.
The commission further asked security agencies to investigate the incidences and bring all culprits to book.
The commission further called upon all people whose rights have been violated to report at any of their ten regional offices across the country. As of today, the commissions had not received any complaints.
However, the commission is not fully constituted since there is no substantive Chairperson. They therefore cannot have a tribunal sit and decide on cases reported to the Commission.
Nevertheless, Dr. Katebalirwe says that they can resolve cases that do not require a tribunal sitting. They can invite parties and have them settle outside the tribal. The commission can still investigate cases and sort those that need to be referred to Court and they are referred.
Ruth Sekindi, the Director of Monitoring & Inspections at the Commission says they they have also launched independent investigations into last week’s events. She says, they have already dispatched teams to visit the different sites where incidences of violence happened to find out what really took place and the status quo.
They asked candidates to respect campaign guidelines set by the Independent Electoral Commission.