More people detained illegally – UHRC

Kampala- Human rights complaints increased by 73 per cent in the past year due to a rise in detention beyond 48 hours, torture and violation of the right to child maintenance, the human rights report has revealed.This latest Uganda Human Rights Commission Report (UHRC) will be launched in Kampala today.

The complaints have risen to 4,753 up from 2,725 in 2013 with the increase attributed to the establishment of the Hoima Regional Office, the mobile complaints handling system and the continued creation of public awareness.

According to the draft report, the top human rights complaint in 2013 was deprivation of personal liberty through detention beyond the 48-hour deadline prescribed by the law.

The other two major complaints were the violation of the freedom from torture and cruelty, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the violation of the right to child maintenance.

Though the draft does not refer to particular cases, 2013 witnessed a brutal crackdown on opposition political party activities in Kampala as politicians rallied the city electorate to challenge attempts by government to kick the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago out of office.

On several occasions last year, police detained former FDC leader Kizza Besigye, Mr Lukwago and other opposition leaders beyond the 48-hour deadline without producing them in court.

In the 2012 UHRC report that tracked rights violations, the police – which opposition, ruling party politicians and activists accuse of being partisan – topped the list of rights violators.

Yesterday, police spokesperson Fred Enanga acknowledged that police detain suspects beyond the 48-hour deadline “due to forces beyond the control of police”.

“It is never deliberate for police to detain people beyond 48 hours but sometimes it is due to forces outside the control of police. There are instances where we have arrested people and they are not ready to record statements because they want legal representation,” Mr Enanga said.

When Parliament last year asked Internal Affairs State minister James Baba to explain the excess orchestrated by police in regard to detention without trial, he argued that a suspect can be held beyond the 48 hours if he either refuses to make a statement and or refuses police bond.

“The UHRC investigated 2,068 complaints 1,041 of which were fully investigated while 1,027 complaints were partially investigated,” reads the draft in part.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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