In the letter dated 3rd July 2019, addressed to all units, the IGP Martin Okoth Ochola warned police officers against human rights violations.
‘ ‘ Be informed that a new law The Human Rights [ enforcement] Act 2019 is now in place, going forward, the entrenchment of human rights in police will no longer be an option’’ Ochola warned.
The law has far reaching consequences on the way police performs its duties and provisions therein have put a lot of emphasis on personal liability for violation of rights of an officer.
Important to note is that responsible officers will now be required to personally incur the costs of compensation in the event of an award by court.
The common human rights violations by the police that have been documented over the years include: detention of suspect beyond the 48 hours, torture, and denial of right of fair hear [access to lawyer, corruption and delayed prosecution]
‘ ‘ This is therefore to instruct all unit commanders to ensure that all the observations of human rights is adhered to without fail in all your areas of operations’’ Ochola said.
A 2019 report released in April listed the Police, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Wildlife Authority game rangers as the leading agencies blamed for extra judicial killings and torture.
The report entitled the state of civil and political rights observance in Uganda in the Era of Kisanja Hakuna Muchezo was compiled from 2016 to 2018
The African Centre for Rehabilitation and Treatment of Torture Victims (ACTV), registers more than 1,000 cases of torture every year, according to one of the organization’s officials, Samuel Nsubuga. He says that between 2015 and 2018, ACTV provided rehabilitation and counselling services to 4,528 torture survivors, the majority of them being men.
Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) reently expressed dismay over the failure by the government to clear compensation to victims of torture. The pending compensation is now valued at 5 billion Uganda Shillings.