Sewanyana takes war against death penalty to Geneva

By Wilfred Sanya

Sewanyana says there is need to end the growing intimidation and attacks on journalists by various state actors.

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The Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), Dr. Livingstone Sewanyana is in Geneva to discuss issues to do with death penalty; freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment; freedoms of expression, association and assembly; detention and access to justice during the United Nations Human Rights Council review process.

"FHRI is an organization whose mission is to enhance the respect and observance of human rights practices and civic values, promote best practices through training, education, research, advocacy, ICTs and strategic partnerships, " says Dr. Sewanyana.

Sewanyana says there is need to end the growing intimidation and attacks on journalists by various state actors.

"There is also need to create laws conducive to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, not laws that restrict these freedoms as is the case of the Public Order Management law.  In the   Last elections in Uganda, we saw an increase in the use of excessive force by security agencies. The Government enacted the Public Order Management Act, 2013. Section 8 of the Act gives the police broad powers, often misused to prevent and disperse opposition rallies," said Sewanyana.

He said excessive use of force on peaceful demonstrators is of increasing concern.

"FHRI wants the Police and other security agencies to refrain from using excessive force in regulating assemblies or effecting arrests, and ensure that police officers are equipped with sufficient non-lethal crowd control equipment," he said.

Dr. Sewanyana   also said:  "The Government still needs to train police investigation officers and state attorneys on the provisions of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012 to ensure the Act is applied efficiently."

He said there is need to set- up a compensation policy to ensure that relevant government institutions act as focal points for paying out compensation awards to torture victims.