Yesterday, the world commemorated the United Nations International Day in support of the Victims of Torture and in Uganda it was revealed that torture cases are on the increase, carried out mostly by security agents, with the actual number reaching 348 victims in 2014.
In this era where democracy and the rule of law rank high on the national political agenda, such revelations are disturbing and do not augur well for a society that has had a tumultuous past, the more reason the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government set up the Uganda National Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).
Incidentally, in Uganda there are many documented and reported cases of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading actions made to the UNHRC but then again others go unreported, making the perpetrators think they can circumvent the law to achieve their dubious intentions.
Uganda is signatory to several international treaties, binding the country to observe the rights of every citizen. In the quest for that development, even here at home the Parliament has enacted the Anti-torture law, aimed at deterring those with lopsided and criminal intentions of harming others.
Indeed, this year’s theme dubbed ‘implement the anti-torture law’ captures the mood and minds of all those that seek to see an end to the perpetration of such vicious crimes; crimes that have the dubious distinction of incapacitating or permanently injuring the victim in a negative way.
Torture can be manifested in several ways including deprivation of personal liberty and or property, carrying out inhuman or degrading treatment against individuals and denial of child maintenance and custody among others.
But all is not lost for the victims because the proponents of the Anti-torture law, including the UNHRC seem determined to curb the vice and in line with that mission, have decided to organize trainings for different security agents across the country.
Similarly, the UNHRC is championing the cause for redress, rehabilitation, and compensation of the victims, something that can act as a deterrent against torture.
Torture is usually carried out by people at the lower rungs of the security apparatus, making it easy to identify and punish the culprit appropriately.
In fact, with increased vigilance by both citizens and administrators, torture can become a thing of the past.