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UPDF Representative Blames Torture On Ugandans Resisting Arrest

MP Zaake has severally been tortured

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has asked Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) to sensitize Ugandans about their rights and warn them against resisting arrest, saying this has led to incidences of torture that have become rampant in Uganda.

The call was made by Charity Bainababo (UPDF Representative in Parliament) during a meeting held between Parliament’s Human Rights Committee and Uganda Human Rights Committee (UHRC) that is looking into claims of torture and disappearance of Ugandans with claims it is masterminded by both Police and Army.

“They resist (arrest) and they cause scuffle and in the scuffle, they cause a few bruises that would tantamount to torture or something, so when you sensitize them about their rights, tell them that resisting arrest may cause friction,” Bainababo said.

Miriam Wangadya, Chairperson Uganda Human Rights Commission informed Parliament that between January 2020 and January 2022, the Commission has registered and investigated 433 complaints of alleged  torture, with security forces cited as top violators.

“The highest number of complaints of alleged torture were registered against the Uganda Police Force with 218 complaints followed by the UPDF with 164 complaints,” Wangadya.

She also said that investigation into torture allegations are hampered because the victims rarely know the names of their captors and all they can tell are the vehicles or uniforms of the arresting officers and at times where they were being held, thus lacking information regarding the names of those who allegedly tortured or arrested them.

The Commission also decried the limited funds set aside to investigate human rights violations, saying initially it was Democratic Government Facility (DGF) that was majorly funding UHRC until the Fund was suspended by Government.

The complaint attracted complaints from James Baba (Koboko County) who wondered why Government has delegated its role of curbing human rights violations to the international community.

“Isn’t the Uganda Human Rights Commission a statutory body which has the first call on the consolidated fund? All statutory bodies have a first call on the consolidated Fund. So why should they rely on funding from DGF?” asked Baba.   

Charles Okello (Nwoya East) said that the suspension of DFG and resultant shortage of funding to UHRC has emboldened perpetuators of torture.

“Remember Government somehow suspended the activities of DGF and the perpetuators of this torture suspended from it because UHRC didn’t have money to pursue these cases since their funding came from DGF,” said Okello.   

Flavia Kalule (Kassanda DWR) urged officials from UHRC to interest themselves with torture complaints raised by National Unity Platform (NUP) by visiting the offices in Kamwokya that is plastered with photos and details of tortured and missing persons.

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