UN to review Uganda’s human rights record

Published by Daily Monitor
On 4 November 2016 saa 02:25
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, Mr James Mugume, said the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process will begin with a presentation from the delegation from Uganda.

The United Nations is set to review Uganda’s performance in the promotion of human rights over the last five years.
The review is set to be conducted in Geneva, Switzerland today.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, Mr James Mugume, told Daily Monitor that the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which is aimed at helping improve human rights situations in all UN member states, will begin with a presentation from the delegation from Uganda.
The delegation is led by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa. It also includes officials from the Uganda Human Rights Commission and representatives from Civil Society Organisations.

“After the presentation we expect Uganda’s Peer Review Report to be discussed and adopted on Monday next week,” Mr Mugume said.
Uganda was first reviewed in October 2011, a process which elicited a number of recommendations, some of which the country was quick to reject.
While it rejected calls to scrap the death penalty and allow access to ungazetted detention centres popularly known as safe houses, saying requests to access them would be considered on a case by case basis, Uganda undertook to train security forces to respect freedoms of expression and assembly.

It also committed to the investigation of allegations of torture, human rights’ violations and use of excessive force by members of the armed forces and prosecution of those found culpable and to adequately compensate victims of torture.
It was expected to have implemented those commitments before the next review, but now with only days before the exercise, the Opposition and civil society, however feel that the country has not made any progress in improving its record on human rights.
The FDC spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, told Daily Monitor that whereas there has been a semblance of improvement, especially in the manner in which officers handle suspects, it has been as a result of pressure.

“From the operations of the police, the changes only arose after we invoked the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act and sued individual police officers including (the Inspector General of Police) Gen Kale Kayihura. I think they got embarrassed and they are now more cautious, but not because the country is due for a review,” Mr Nganda said.
DP secretary general Mathias Nsubuga said the country has retrogressed over the last five years.
Mr Nsubuga pointed at the events of July 12 and July 13, when stick and electric cable-wielding police officers battered Dr Kizza Besigye’s fans who had lined up along roads in Nakasero and along the Kampala Gayaza Road to cheer him, and the Force’s defiance of an order directing them to leave Dr Besigye’s home in Kasangati as proof of the retrogression.

In a recent document, the Human Rights Network Uganda also poked holes in the human rights record in the last five years, accusing the police of arbitrary application of sections of the Police Act, selective application of the Public Order Management Act and infringing on the freedoms of members of the Opposition.
However, Mr Mugume dismissed the criticism as unfair, saying a number of laws such as the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, which now makes it possible for individuals to be held personally responsible for their actions, have since been put in place.