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November Riots: Gov't Still Processing Compensation of Victims

Gen. Odongo told delegates at the 40th Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights of the United Nations virtual meeting that the compensation process is ongoing and that several families have presented their claims to the office of the Attorney General.
Jeje Odongo

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The Minister for Foreign Affairs General Jeje Odongo has said that the government is still processing compensation for victims of the November 2020 riots.

Fifty people were killed when riots erupted in Kampala and other parts of the country following the arrest of National Unity Platform-NUP Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi in Luuka District.

Kyagulanyi who was on a campaign trail was arrested for allegedly organizing a public rally contrary to the Covid-19 guidelines that were issued by the Electoral Commission and Ministry of Health.

Addressing the nation after the riots, President 32 of the dead were rioters while 20 were innocent people and their families would be compensated.

On Thursday, Gen. Odongo told delegates at the 40th Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights of the United Nations virtual meeting that the compensation process is ongoing and that several families have presented their claims to the office of the Attorney General.

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Gen Odongo further told delegates that a total of 1,088 suspects were arrested following the riots, 949 of whom were arraigned before courts of laws, 333 convicted, 128 discharged and the rest were still in court.

He however didn't give an account of the 139 other suspects who were arrested but not arraigned before Court. Odong also told delegates that the government is still conducting investigations into the incident.

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But a delegate from Norway raised concern over the excessive use of force by police and security agencies during the riots. The delegate asked the country to take concrete steps to protect the right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.

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A delegate from the Kingdom of Netherlands expressed concern over the lack of accountability over the use of force during the election period. They called for an impartial investigation into the excessive use of force by security and ensure justice and fair trials.

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Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka said the November riots were not peaceful demonstrations or assemblies but rather violent, premeditated, and organized riots characterized by evidence of command.

He added that the law enforcement agencies in Uganda recognize the sanctity of life and have always upheld human rights in the execution of their constitutional duties. Kiwanuka also said there are no extrajudicial killings and torture by security agencies in Uganda.

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Security agencies have been on the spot for killing suspected terrorists under suspicious circumstances during counter-terrorism operations in a spate of five months.

Last year eight suspects were shot dead. They included Mohammed Nsubuga, Manihaji, Master Lubwama, Juma Saidi, Juma Sserwadda,  Amin Kawawa Mustapha, Moses Mudasiri, and Sheikh Muhammad Abbas Kirevu.

In August last year, Network for Public Interest Lawyers-NETPIL, an umbrella organization of lawyers produced a report, ‘The 2021 General Elections in Uganda; Human Rights Violations and the Spectacle of Violence.

In the report, they noted several killings carried out by security agencies and concluded that it is increasingly becoming normal for people to be summarily executed and somehow the government justifies their action.

The right to life is protected under Article 22 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda to the effect that every person has a right to life.  That right can only be taken away when a person is found guilty and sentenced to death in a fair trial by a competent court.



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