The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has expressed its worry over the increasing number of torture cases.
The UHRC chairperson Med Kaggwa said on Tuesday at their offices in Kampala that although laws against torture in Uganda do exist, more cases are registered day by day.
“It’s evident that the violation of the right to freedom in the form of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment are still rampant in Uganda. Many cases have been documented by the UHRC despite the registered framework of the law put in the place to deter violation of human rights in form of torture and ensure the enjoyment of the right to freedom, it’s unfortunate that this vice has continued in Uganda unabated,” said Kaggwa.
According to an annual report published by the commission from 2015 to 2018, torture in Uganda has been ranked as the highest violation of human rights. The report states that that out the 3,008 complaints of human violation registered 1,027 were of torture.
In addition to the above, last year alone, the highest number of complaints of human right violation registered by the commission were allegations of torture, cruelity, inhuman or degrading treatments totalling to 346 out of 746 cases reported.
According to Kaggwa, in all the two reports security forces have been the leading agents of torture.
He noted; “The unfortunate part of torture crimes is that security officers are not tried in the common courts of laws for the society to get a conclusive justice. We have seen many victims of torture suffering but the officers who caused harm to them are already deployed working and taking care of their families yet victims are still suffering from damages they caused them.”
He added: “It’s very hard to know if officers charged of torture serve their penalties to the fullest.”
As a remedy to reduce the increase of torture, UHRC and members of the coalition against torture have recommended that Uganda Police should investigate and document torture cases for the implementation of the anti-torture law without discrimination but basing on the perpetrators status.
Also errant officers in security agencies accused to be perpetrators should be charged in mainstream courts of law as a deterrent measure as opposed to the institution’s administrative sanctions which may not be as effective.