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UHRC cautions candidates against defying campaign guidelines

UHRC chair Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba addresses the press.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Human Rights Commission-UHRC has cautioned politicians against defying campaign guidelines issued by the Electoral Commission.

The acting chairperson to the Commission Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba says the clashes between candidates and security personnel are as a result of the failure by the politicians to respect the set guidelines.

According to the guidelines issued by the EC, candidates and their supporters are expected to wear masks, maintain physical distance and when they hold meetings, restrict them to a maximum of 200 people.

Candidates and their supporters were also barred from holding processions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic for fear of crowds that could potentially facilitate the spread of the disease.

Katebalirwe says candidates should respect the guidelines to avoid getting into confrontations with security personnel.

Last month, the National Unity Platform-NUP presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi was arrested in Luuka district for not observing the Covid-19 guidelines. Other candidates like Forum for Democratic Change-FDC’s Patrick Oboi Amuriat have also fallen victim of the guidelines.

Katebalirwe says as the campaigns go on, they have observed failure by politicians to respect the guidelines which has led to an increase in the number of human rights violations recorded in the COVID-19 period.

He says politicians need to appreciate the effects of the virus and adjust to the new standards set by the government to protect people.

Katebalirwe also called upon security to avoid the use of excessive force to quell protests.

Aida Nakiganda, the Director Complaints, Investigations and Legal at UHRC says they are handling 15 cases that emerged from last month’s protests. Of these, 13 are reports filed by relatives of the deceased people complaining of human rights violations involving the right to life.

The other two cases involved people complaining of their relatives being held incommunicado.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of African Center of Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victim Samuel Herbert Nsubuga, they have so far received 10 people who are victims of the protests and torture.



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