Torture by Uganda cops ongoing despite new law
27 June 2014, 10:16
Kampala - Incidents of torture by Uganda's police continue to be reported despite the introduction of a 2012 law banning the practice, the country's human rights commission said on Thursday.
A report from the state-funded body, released to coincide with the United Nations' International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, said those affected were also stuck in a legal backlog and awaiting compensation, sometimes for years.
"Despite the current new anti-torture law and other efforts to fight torture in Uganda, recent reports reveal that cases of torture still rank high among other categories of human rights violations," the report said.
Brutality and corruption
Uganda's parliament passed a law outlawing torture in 2012, aimed at making police and soldiers personally liable for violations and compensation.
"Over the last five years, cases of torture are on the decrease but it is still there," commission member Agaba Maguru told reporters, revealing that out of 273 cases registered in 2013, 188 were blamed on the police.
"The money awarded annually to the attorney general by the government to compensate the victims is too low, which creates delays," he added, saying some victims have been awaiting settlements for 12 years.
In April Uganda's police announced they had decided to rebrand by dropping the word "force" from their name in a bid to shed an image of brutality and corruption, saying the change highlighted that police was not just a state instrument used to quash opposition to veteran President Yoweri Museveni - leader of the east African nation since 1986 - and break up demonstrations.