The Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights has directed the Minister for Security, Hon. Jim Muhwezi to respond to allegations of human rights violations by security operatives.
The committee also directed the Minister to provide a detailed response to allegations of safe houses where some suspects are tortured and concerns of who have missing persons since 2020.
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 8th February 2022.
On 03 February 2022, Opposition Members of Parliament led by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga walked out of Parliament protesting what they termed as the continued violation of rights of Ugandans by security operatives.
The Chairperson of Commission, Mariam Wangadya while appearing before the Human Rights Committee on Thursday, 24 February 2022 said they registered 1,205 complaints of alleged human rights violations between January 2020 and January 2022.
She cited 600 cases of alleged torture, 378 cases of deprivation of personal liberty, 90 cases of deprivation of life, 71 cases of deprivation of security of person and 65 cases of disappearance of persons.
She told Committee that the commission’s investigations at Kitalya prison with 87 inmates indicated that 35 of them were arrested by the UPDF in Kalangala and 52 by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence on charges related to the 2021 general elections.
Hon. Fox Odoi, Committee Chairperson, listed 6 names of missing persons among them include, including John Ddamulira, Matthew Kafeero, Matthew Kigozi, Sarah Namayanja, Agnes Nabwere, George Kasumba and Ibrahim Chekede.
He tasked the Minister to follow up on the matter and other related concerns and report back to Parliament. He also tasked the minister to provide details of security agencies that are authorised to carry out arrests using cars without number plates commonly called drones.
Sironko District Woman Representative, Hon. Florence Nambozo was concerned that many Ugandans continue to be arbitrarily arrested and tortured yet the Government is present. He demanded to know whether the Government has taken the initiative to find out who carries out such arrests.
Kagadi District Woman MP, Hon. Jennifer Mbabazi demanded to know the interventions being taken by the Government to end the torture of suspects.
In response, the Minister told the Committee that there are no safe houses in the country. He, however, said that safe houses were there in the past but they were used for training officers.
On reports of Human Rights abuse, the Minister said that the Government 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 8th February 2022.
He also promised to present to Parliament a list of officers implicated in the torture of suspects. He reiterated that Government does not condone torture.