KAMPALA – Members of Parliament on the Human Rights Committee have accused the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) of failing in its mandate to investigate torture allegations in suspected safe houses and prosecute all those involved.
UHRC officials led by Mr Meddie Kaggwa on Wednesday angered MPs when they revealed that while they have received complaints of torture, the Commission has not been able to execute them.
“Upraise this Committee about issues of Safe Houses. What are you doing as a Commission, Do you categorize them as places supposed to be there? How many Safe Houses do you know as a Commission and how many Ugandans are being kept in these Safe Houses?” Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi asked UHRC officials.
In response, Mr Kaggwa said they are not aware of the exact number apart of safe houses from receiving complaints from a few people, whom he declined to name.
He further said that they carry out visits to security installations without permission but mentioned that for military installations, they submit formal communication before their visits.
This attracted the wrath of the MPs, who wondered why UHRC was formed if it cannot investigate the cases.
Kigulu North MP Bwino Fred Kyakulaga said he expected to receive information about their investigations on torture in the alleged Safe Houses from what they have heard. Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi accused the Commission of being impotent and abetting crime. Kalungu West MP Joseph Sewungu weighed in demanding that the Commission leadership resigns since it had failed in its mandate and in the process failed Ugandans.
Commission Chairman Kaggwa maintained that his Commission was executing its mandate effectively.
“I don’t accept that we have failed. We are the best Human Rights Body in Africa. I am equally shocked when I heard a question of who we work for, we work for the people of Uganda. We cannot be the investigators and implementers, we file reports and you have a responsibility to help us,” Kaggwa told MPs.