Police given two weeks ultimatum to respond to allegations of human rights violations

The Committee on Human Rights has given the Uganda Police Force up to 09 March 2022 to respond to allegations of human rights violations by its officers.

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) was summoned to appear before the committee on 24 February 2022 but was instead represented by the Director Human Rights and Legal Services, Erasmus Twahurukwa.

He told the committee that the force was not ready to make a presentation before the committee because the invitation was on short notice.

“I have been sent by the IGP to request for two weeks to enable us prepare adequately and make a detailed response,” said Twahurukwa.

Committee Chair, Fox Odoi however, cautioned the Police force against seeking more time adding that the committee has 45 days to conduct the investigation.

“Within this timeframe, we also have to make our report which will be presented to the House,” Odoi said.

MPs further tasked the Police to ensure that the response includes cases sent by the Attorney General for compensation since the payment system has been decentralised.

James Baba (NRM, Koboko County) said that the force should explain why police officers are always in possession of live ammunition while quelling riots.

“Under what circumstances should police officers have ammunition instead of rubber bullets. This is ashaming government,” he said.

Hon Francis Mwijukye (FDC, Buhweju County) added that an explanation should be given on the rationale used to involve the army in carrying out civilian arrests.

“We also need to know under what circumstances the army is allowed to shoot and kill suspects,” Mwijukye said.

Terego District Woman MP, Rose Obiga who narrated her ordeal in which she claimed that police officers recently roughly handled her at Entebbe International airport over a minor incident, advised the force to incorporate customer care sessions in their trainings.

“If an MP can be handled in such a manner, what about an ordinary Ugandan. Police officers lack civility while dealing with suspects,” she said.

Committee Vice Chairperson, Hon Jennifer Mbabazi asked the IGP to present a list of errant police officers.

“We also need to know the number of errant officers who have been reprimanded,” said Mbabazi.

The committee is investigating cases of alleged human rights violations by security operatives, following a directive by the Deputy Speaker, Anita Among during a plenary sitting on 8 February 2022.

On 03 February 2022, Opposition Members of Parliament led by the Leader of the Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga walked out of Parliament protesting what they termed as the continued violation of rights of Ugandans by security operatives.

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