By Cecilia Okoth
HUMAN Rights Network (HURINET) Uganda has called for an immediate revision of the Public Order Management Act saying irrespective of it, citizens still have a right to assembly and expression.
“The Act in its current state provides for notification and not vetting of public meetings,” Mohammed Ndifuna, HURINET Boss, adding that the act has resulted in unlawful arrests and degrading treatment of members of the public and the civil society.
Ndifuna was addressing journalists at their offices in Ntinda on Tuesday.
He added that in most of these incidents, the conduct of the police falls short of the standards set out in the 1995 Constitution, International and Regional Instruments and even in the contested Public Order Management Act (POMA).
“Indeed some rights are limited under the constitution, but the limitations on the enjoyment of these rights and freedoms should be accepted and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society,” said Ndifuna.
He argued that the police in blocking the public meetings have failed to prove that the grounds for refusal fall within the three reasons that the venue is already booked, the meeting will distract traffic or unsuitable for crowd control and will interfere with other lawful businesses as laid out in the POMA.
He urged Government and the police to facilitate rather than prohibit public assemblies to respect human rights.