In the recent past Ugandans were taken aback by viral videos on social media showing a maid and step-mother beating up children. Following the maid’s incident, there was a lot of public uproar, prompting the Uganda Human Rights Commission amongst other things, to urge Parliament to amend the Children’s Act 1997; to protect the young ones against violence and torture.
As the world commemorates the United Nations International Day in support of victims of torture, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and Coalition Against Torture (CAT), say cases of torture still rank high in Uganda, despite the Anti-Torture Law in place.
And, addressing journalists at the Golf Course Hotel in Kampala, the UHRC Secretary Gordon Mwesigye, said this year’s national celebrations will run under the theme “Implement the Anti-Torture Law”.
“The focus this year is on implementation of the prevention and prohibition of Torture Act, 2012 or Anti-Torture Law and the need for judiciary and law enforcement agencies to make effective use of this law to offer justice to survivors of torture,” Mwesigye said.
According to the 2014 UHRC Annual Report, complaints on the violation of the right to freedom from torture and ill-treatment increased by 30.76% and most of the reports were against state agents like the Uganda Police Force (UPF) (202); the Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) (74); Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) (26); private individuals (28); Local Government (seven); educational institutions (five); private security companies (4): Uganda Wildlife Authority (eight); clan leaders (two); Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Gulu Remand Home registered one such complaint each.
The UHRC noted that the alleged violation of torture and ill-treatment mostly occurred during pre-trial detention while interrogating suspects. The top five complaints which the UHRC has registered in the past five ye