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Law Society launches its second report on rule of law

By Betty Amamukirori

Added 27th June 2017 06:21 PM

The report which was compiled by the ULS advisory board chaired by Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa, a Makerere University Law don, states that of the assassination of police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, government and security agencies plunged into a co-extensive violation of human rights.

The report which was compiled by the ULS advisory board chaired by Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa, a Makerere University Law don, states that of the assassination of police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, government and security agencies plunged into a co-extensive violation of human rights.

 

The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has launched its second rule of law status report highlighting several human right abuses committed between April and June 2017.

The report which was compiled by the ULS advisory board chaired by Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa, a Makerere University Law don, states that of the assassination of police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, government and security agencies plunged into a co-extensive violation of human rights.

"During the review period, Ugandans witnessed an increase in politically motivated detentions, alleged disappearances, torture and deaths in custody, as well as the stifling of dissenting voices in response to alternative opinions as expressed by activists, academics and opposition leaders," reads the report.

Top among the abuses the report highlighted, was the freedom from torture which was seen through the numerous media reports of torture meted out against suspects in the Kaweesi murder by police in their various detention facilities including the infamous Nalufenya.

"The prohibition against torture is a bedrock principal of international law. Torture as well as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is banned at all times, including in times of war. No national emergency, however dire, ever justifies its use," the report further reads.

It recommends that perpetrators of torture be brought to book and should be individually held responsible for their actions. It also wants the police to be equipped with better and modern investigation skills in order to ensure internationally acceptable standards of investigations.

Speaking at the launch, Ssempebwa ULS is ready to offer free legal aid to the families of the children who were arrested by police in connection with the assassination, to get reparations for the damages caused.

The children (12) all belonging to a one Abdul Rashid Mbazira of Nambale in Mukono district, were allegedly kidnapped and detained by police on May 8.  Their father was also jailed for alleged involvement in the murder of Kaweesi.

The police in their defence said that they had the children and are investigating claims of human trafficking against their father. The children's mothers were also allegedly blocked from accessing them.

 "If indeed this was the case, the police should have issued a statement to this effect and handed these children into the care of a registered child care and welfare facility as investigations were proceeding," Ssempebwa said.

He said that they are also not sure whether the best interests of the children were considered during the arrest and whether child welfare officers were involved during the separation of these children from their parents.

"We do hope that those who arrested these children will be brought to book and we actually are intending to assist the families of these children get representation for reparations," he said.

Ssempebwa said that though the president condemned torture, they want a public apology given to all the affected persons and reparation be paid to them.

Other human rights violations which the report launched at Serena hotel early today, pointed out are abuse of freedom of the media, expression, and access to information and the rights of women.

During the launch, the Uganda prison was given an award for committing to upholding the rule of law.

The Inspectorate of government and the Uganda Law Reform Commission were also commended for committing to the rule of law.

While presenting the award, Francis Gimara the president ULS said the rule of law is a key corner stone when it comes to nation building and must be attended to.

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