Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43
Human Rights Act Amendment Mooted to Allow Officers Defend Themselves :: Uganda Radionetwork
Breaking

Human Rights Act Amendment Mooted to Allow Officers Defend Themselves

Citing the recent attacks by suspected machete-wielding men against police officers in Luwero and Mbale, Wangadya argues that rather than applying reasonable force to defend themselves against their attackers, the surviving police personnel opted to flee, due to the limitations within the current laws.
The commandant of Uganda Rapid deployment capability center, Brig. Gen. Peter Omola addressing the trainees.

Audio 2

The chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission-UHRC, Mariam Wangadya is currently agitating for a review of both the human rights enforcement act and the prevention and prohibition of torture act, to align clauses that will empower officers to easily defend themselves when attacked on duty.

While presiding over the training of UPDF officers on the basic human rights laws at the Jinja city’s based Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Center-URDC on Monday, Wangadya said that, unlike other countries where armed forces leadership accounts for the actions of their officers, the current acts hold individual officers liable, which restrains most of them from defending themselves when attacked.

The four-day United Nations Human Rights Commission-sponsored training codenamed, “human rights standards applicable to UPDF personnel,” is aimed at skilling both UPDF’s junior and senior officers in the basic human rights laws, international humanitarian law and the role of media in enforcing human rights.

Citing the recent attacks by suspected machete-wielding men against police officers in Luwero and Mbale, Wangadya argues that rather than applying reasonable force to defend themselves against their attackers, the surviving police personnel opted to flee, due to the limitations within the current laws. 

She notes that, during her recent interactions with different senior investigating officers, most of them stressed that, the current laws tend to protect their civilian attackers under the pretext of being unarmed, making officers defenseless even in circumstances when these attacks are life threatening. 

Wangadya argues that the human rights Act is roughly 10 years old, but due to the ever-evolving nature of criminality involving persistent attacks targeting security personnel on duty, a comprehensive review of the current laws to examine the extent of protection of the officers’ rights should be evaluated, so as to equip them with the capability to defend themselves. 

//cue in: “perhaps, Uganda is… //

Cue out…women in uniform,”//

Brig Gen. Peter Omola, the commandant of URDC says that much as UPDF has labored to discipline officers implicated in the acts of torturing different players within the civilian spaces, a section of unknown individuals from the general public have bred the habit of deliberately attacking soldiers on lawful duty, which violates their individual rights too. 

//cue in: “we continue to…//

Cue out…an accountable force,”//

On his part, the UPDF’s director for Human Rights, Col. Deo Karikona says that on several occasions, armed forces personnel choose to restrain themselves due to the discipline instilled in them throughout their course of service, however, some ill-minded individuals within the communities take advantage of this professionalism to attack officers.

  

Karikona notes that, with the current human rights training extended to officers, they will carry a better sense of judgment to fairly evaluate situations, which will partly reduce confrontations between forces and their civilian counterparts. 

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights deputy country representative, Grace Pelly says that observance of human rights within the armed forces is the moral and ethical fabric of their profession and it enables them to have public trust. “Failure to treat each person with respect and dignity undermines public trust and endangers democracy, citizens and leaders must be able to trust that, you legitimately exercise your authority,” she says.