Human rights activists urge police to respect human rights

By Daudi Zirimala

The Uganda human rights commission chairperson Meddie kaggwa has cautioned all security personnel especially police that it’s not an optional but a constitution obligation to observe and respect human rights and freedoms in the performance of their duties.

Kaggwa says ,article 20(2) of the constitution states that the rights and freedoms of the individual and groups enshrined in this chapter shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all government organs ,however there seems to be impunity in the way some police personnel disregard human rights particularly so in highly politically charged situations like electoral periods and demonstrations.

Kaggwa says they have got so many scenarios where police consistently topped the respondents in complaints of human rights violations such as torture, cruel, inhuman treatment, deprivation of the right to personnel liberty among others.

He notes that they need to discuss the disappointing trend and devise ways of ensuring that such complaints reduce as expected and this can be done through engaging each other.

This is at the opening the high level retreat of the Uganda human rights commission and Uganda police force at Munyonyo.

However the inspector general of police Martin Okoth Ochola refuted the allegations that police is still the leading offender of violations of human rights against people including journalists, saying those are individual acts not the institution.

He says the Uganda Police Force for effective discharge of its mandate with respect to human rights the institution has put in place remarkable progress in the infrastructural development in respect of suspects accommodation by eliminating bucket system in all newly constructed police stations.

Speaking at the opening of a High level retreat for Uganda Human Rights Commission and Uganda police Force Top Leadership,the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola said that the force is working tireless to eradicating human rights abuses by understating ,appreciating and internalizing their own challenges and implement recommendations that will facilitate proper policing.

According to Okoth Ochola, they have also conducted several human rights trainings for police officers on various laws such as the Anti-Torture act and Public Order Management Act however they still face challenges of chaotic and complex policing scenes especially during political confrontations and civil obedience that at times promote direct attacks against police officers.