By Anne Mugisa
Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Aronda Nyakairima has said he is investigating individuals and companies involved in human trafficking.
Nyakairima did not reveal the identities of the suspects, but other sources said that some of those involved are government officials.
“We are discredited regionally because of such acts,” Nyakairima said and added that “I am tracking them down. I am following them up to take serious action…”
Nyakairima, who was Tuesday morning speaking at a Human Rights dialogue in Kampala, said that unsuspecting Ugandans have ended up being abused in the worst of ways including sexual slavery while others are on death row in Asian countries.
Those who recruit them in the first place do it under the pretext of finding them jobs and education opportunities knowing that is not true.
Nyakairima also criticised human rights organisations which have failed to talk about that kind of abuse.
“Some of our people have been taken out and are now on death row somewhere… individuals and groups in the country should come up and speak out against this kind of human rights abuse,” Nyakairima said.
The dialogue was organised by the Human Rights Centre Uganda (HRCUG) for Government and civil society organisations to explore “whose duty it is to protect and ensure rights”.
It was agreed that the Government has a duty to protect human rights but also the citizens have obligations towards ensuring human rights observation and that rights have corresponding obligations.
Nyakairima said that Ugandans need to look at the country’s history and then decide where they want to be regarding human rights.
He said that since 1986, an environment has been put in place where there is no institutionalised violation. He said that there are lapses by individuals but many of them have been punished.
He asked rights organisations to sustain a spotlight on questionable areas for them to be addressed. He said, however, that there are some NGOs that interfere in areas outside their mandate.
MP Jovia Kamateeka said that rights should not be politicised or sensationalised and that government should sensitise people on their rights and obligations.
Sheila Muwanga from the Foundation for Human rights Initiative (FHRI) said that the State has to carry out a delicate balance of respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of its citizens. She said that non-State actors’ duty is to supplement the State.
“As we bash the State we must not forget that it is trying to carry out that delicate balance especially in deciding whose rights to protect. But the State should also acknowledge its duty to protect without violating others’ rights,” Muwanga said.