By Ian Katusiime
Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) released its annual report on April 10 at Imperial Royale Hotel where it sharply criticised the Police for its brutality and crack down on demonstrations and illegal detention of suspects beyond the stipulated 48 hours.
Complaints on the right to personal liberty or detention beyond 48 hours topped the list at 33.83% of the total number of complaints registered, closely followed by the violation of freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
The rights body also noted emerging human rights concerns such as increased incidents of murder, increasing students’ strikes in schools, challenge of human trafficking and the state of media freedom. Other mentionable issues were delays in salaries of public servants and rising youth unemployment.
UHRC recommended the Uganda Police Force to adhere to the law, as it has always recommended, and that it should be equipped with the necessary facilities to enable them fulfil the constitutional obligation to bring suspects to court within 48 hours and to efficiently perform their duties. It also encouraged the Police to renovate Police homes to improve the image of the force.
It also recommended the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to be adequately facilitated and staffed to enable it expeditiously handle criminal cases in a timely manner. UHRC also urged the government to strengthen institutions dealing with child related cases and also urged the government to ensure that UHRC is adequately facilitated to execute its mandate.
The closure of media houses, intimidation of journalists, mysterious deaths of journalists were also cited in the report. However UHRC also noted positive developments including government programmes such as Youth Livelihood Program and the Youth Venture Capital Fund to address unemployment, the Social Protection Programme which provides social assistance to vulnerable persons in 14 districts.