On 31st March 2019 the President of the Republic of Uganda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni assented to the Human Rights Enforcement Act, 2019. The Act guarantees the entrenchment of human rights in the way the Uganda Police Force enforces law and order. The Act emphasizes personal liability of Police Officers who violate the rights of Ugandans.
Over the years, from several human rights reports, the Police has largely been implicated for perpetuating torture, violating the right to fair hearing and on some occasions locked up suspects beyond the mandatory 48 hours.
The journalists under their umbrella body Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ ), Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) and the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association have issued statements calling for the expeditious inquiry into the cases of journalists who were beaten up in the course of duty as they covered the Makerere University riots last week and this week.
The Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), wishes to add its voice on the position of the journalists that a free press is a hallmark of democracy, which the Police should be seen to promote not to curtail. CCEDU calls upon the wider public and all people interested in the growth of democracy in Uganda to support the media in their call for fair hearing. Police officers who brutalized journalists in their course of duty must be brought to book.
Today, November 4, 2019 a Kingdom TV journalist, Kiberu Siraji was badly beaten up and taken to an unknown destination by the Police. The Journalists mounted pressure on the police for two hours to secure his release. Kiberu is a not a lone case, over 10 journalists have been beaten up and locked up in Police cells in unknown places, for reporting about the Makerere University strike. The beating of journalists is unfortunate and a breach of the Constitutional rights guaranteed in Chapter 4 of the Ugandan Constitution.
CCEDU demands that all Police officers who engage in acts of brutalizing journalists be subjected to the due-course of the law immediately. The state should not be seen to condone human rights abuses, when there is a legal regime to curtail abuses.
The Human Rights Enforcement Act seeks to restore dignity, reputation and the rights of the victims who have been abused and those of close persons connected to them. The Act also seeks to ensure that there is no continued violation of human rights and freedoms.
Based on the press freedom guarantees enshrined in the Constitution of Uganda and the Human Rights enforcement Act, CCEDU demands that the rights and freedoms of journalists be restored by expeditiously carrying out an inquiry into the abuses meted on journalists. Government should also reaffirm its commitment to defend the rights of the press unequivocally.
For God and My Country
For radio and TV clips kindly call Dr. Miria Matembe - +256 774 612019