The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has said that increased training of security personnel will reduce torture.
Security agencies, especially the Police, have on various occasions been accused by both individuals and human rights agencies of torturing suspects to extract information from them.
“Parliament has always stood alongside the population on issues of torture. Parliament passed the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act intended to prevent any form of torture,” said Kadaga.
Kadaga was flagging off a Walk in commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
The Walk started at the CHOGM Gardens near Parliament, on Monday 26th June 2017.
The Day was commemorated under the theme: Together let us implement the Anti-Torture Law.’
The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012 was passed to among others, give effect to the respect of human dignity and protection from inhuman treatment by prohibiting and preventing any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and to provide for the crime of torture.
“I am happy to associate with you; and I hope there will be more awareness and that the security agencies will be trained and re-trained such that they do not go beyond certain limits while carrying out interrogation of suspects,” Kadaga added.
In May this year, Parliament asked its Committee on Human Rights to visit Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja following allegations of torture of suspects held there.
In its Report, the Committee observed that detainees “seem to live under fear and that there is a general fear of disclosure of information to any person. Hence, even though the detainees may want to disclose information, they are constrained.”
Legislators condemned torture and said that there was need for the Uganda Police Force to respect the Constitution and not to behave like they are above the law.
June 26th was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, with a view to the total eradication of torture.
It is an opportunity to call on stakeholders including UN Member States, civil society and individuals to unite in support of people around the world who have been victims of torture.
The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, Hon. Jovah Kamateeka, assured Ugandans of their right from torture condemning the increasing cases reported countrywide.
“It is absurd that torture is increasing in Uganda. Anyone torturing a Ugandan should be held accountable and be brought to book,” she said.
She promised that Parliament needs to ratify an Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture that can allow human rights organisations and private persons to visit detention centres, prisons and other facilities where torture is suspected.