KAMPALA- Human rights defenders have slammed government in what they described as “increasing impunity, intolerance and brutality” orchestrated by security agencies in the country.
Speaking at the National coalition of Human Rights Defenders Uganda on Saturday, Dr Livingstone Ssewanyana, the executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), singled out Police as the biggest violators of human rights.
“We are facing the highest intolerance levels in this country now and I do not think as human rights defenders, we should celebrate this day,” DrSsewanyana said.
Every December 9, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate human rights day. This year’s celebrations ran under the theme: “Uganda: Reclaiming Civil Society Organisations (CSO) civic space.”
Several reports and individuals have pinned the Police on human rights violations, something MrJames Kusemererwa, the head of police human rights desk said they were addressing.
“This is something [rights observation] we are teaching in police training schools,” Mr Kusemererwa said.
“Right now, a police officer can be sued individually and not hide behind the institution,” he added.
What remains a challenge, Mr Kusemererwa said, is ignorance of the laws on human rights for some police officers and the general public which he said they are addressing through different awareness programmes.
Police cruelty on suspects recently came to the fore in March, when 17 people suspected to have killed former police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi, his driver and bodyguard in a Kampala suburb, appeared for the first time in the public.
The suspects limped to court with open and smelly wounds, with blistered palms in the air, pleaded with the presiding magistrate to order their immediate relocation from Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja District, where they said they were tortured.