A brief look into the Committee on Human Rights Report on Human Rights Violations in the Country from January 2020 to date

Today I will look into the Parliamentary report named: “REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS ON THE STATE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE COUNTRY, PARLIAMENT OF UGANDA, FROM JANUARY 2020 TO-DATE” which is dated in July 2022 and received by the Clerk of the Parliament during August 2022. This report is important, as we know the usage of the authorities against dissidents, activists and others during the campaigns and after it too. So, that should be reflected in the report.

I will take out the quotes and statements, which is showing the true character of the oppression and how the state operates. It would be shocking if there wasn’t some sinister actions reported or information about. The news about these acts and the common knowledge of it should be mirrored here.

The report is bluntly very long and could be taken into plenty of pieces. As there are enough pain and suffering to speak about. I am only taking a little part of the greater picture. Just to show what sort of things the state does to the citizens during the election period. Because, focusing on to big parts it will be becoming erratic. There are so many stakeholders who supplemented the Report as well.

So there could be taken out so much material. However, here is just a small fragment and it still prints a bleak picture. I believe this is only the top of the ice-berg and we don’t know what is underneath the surface. The state would never release the whole picture, but only the cliff-notes. That is obvious here….

A brief overview of human rights violations:

It starts with: “the highest number of complaints reported to UHRC was torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (443), followed by deprivation of personal liberty/detention beyond 48 hours (378)” (…) “The Commission reported to the Committee that some of the law enforcement or security agencies wear civilian clothes, sometimes with their faces covered

in masks, while those in uniforms lack name tags. The identification of perpetrators is further compounded when there are joint operations by the Uganda Police Force, UPDF, CMI and ISO” (…) “The Committee notes that there was arbitrary deprivation of the right to liberty because of wrongful procedure of airest by Police and security agencies. Most suspects were held incommunicado and were not informed of the cases against them” (…) “The Committee noted that UHRC reported 90 cases of alleged deprivation of the right to life. However, the report did not contain any additional information on how each case was handled and the status of said the cases” (Report, July 2022).

Abductions during campaign season:

The Committee was informed that between the months of January 2020 and March 2021, the Uganda Human Rights Commission received 65 complaints of alleged disappearances of persons in the districts of Kyotera, Mukono, Kampala, Wakiso, Mpigi, Pallisa, Bundibugyo and Mityana” (…) “Some of the released persons allege to have been freed from the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka, Wakiso district while others contend they were produced in court and remanded to Kitalya Prison” (Report, July 2022).

HURIPEC reported that from the start of the official presidential and parliamentary election campaigns in November 2O2O, not less than 500 Ugandans were abducted, kidnapped, held in custody without trial or in military facilities and “safe houses”, or killed extra-judicially. HURIPEC

alleged that on November 18 and 191h 2020 alone, it was estimated that over 100 Ugardans were executed on the streets of Kampala in a bid to contain protests that were triggered by the arrest of NUP Party flag bearer Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu” (…) “They further claimed that while a few of the citizens arrested in this onslaught were arraigned before courts of law, an unknown number were found dumped in jungles and other remote places; often in poor health, bearing torture marks. Some women reported to have been sexually violated- These acts have gone hand in hand with a growing practice of trying Ugandan citizens in military tribunals. HURIPEC expres concern that this is against the letter and spirit of Uganda s constitution” (Report, July 2022)

Rt Hon. Speaker, UJA reported to the Committee that several journalists were injured by security during the course of their work; covering the 2021 elections. A survey conducted by UJA, for the period November 2nd 2020 and May 12th 2021, they recorded violations of rights for over 50 journalists in form of physical attacks, confiscation of work tools, vandalism, tear gas and

pepper sprays, unwarranted arrests, detention and intimidation by the security forces and private citizens” (Report, July 2022).

Violations of the LDUs:

Local Defence Unit (LDUS) personnel were reported to have used excessive force, including beatings and extortion of money from Boda boda riders, food vendors and taxi drivers in Kampala, Wakiso, Entebbe and Jinja purportedly to enforce Presidential Guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021” (Report, July 2022).

This is grim, but sadly not shattering. We have heard and read similar before… it is sinister that a state can act like this and only show a little of it. They are drip-dropping about it, but never revealing the whole picture. That’s why we know… that there is so much more to it all and so many more cases, which has never been told. This is the real trick of it all.

No one should have gone through this, but there are plenty of more that never gets into print. Peace.

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