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Statement from Ugandans Demanding and End to Police Brutality

13 October 2015

To
The Ministry of Internal Affairs
The Speaker of Uganda Parliament
The Inspector General of Police
The Uganda Human Rights Commission

RE: POLICE BRUTALITY AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AHEAD OF 2016 UGANDA ELECTIONS

We, concerned citizens of Uganda,
Outraged by the recent brutal actions of the Uganda Police towards opposition politicians and supporters

Cognizant of Uganda’s history that is tainted with gender specific crimes against women by security forces

Mindful that Uganda’s General elections are four months away

Appalled that our Police has exhibited that it is ill-prepared to ensure law and order in an impartial, non-discriminatory and civil way

Do address you as follows:

It is with great horror that, on October 10th 2015, Ugandans watched police officers arrest members of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party on their way to Rukungiri for their party mobilisation. Members of Parliament duly elected by Ugandan citizens were roughed up, beaten and bound with ropes.

This is not the first time that the Uganda Police has targeted women in politics, to humiliate, embarrass, intimidate and violate their bodies. Similarly humiliating actions were committed against opposition MP Nabilah Nagayi and FDC Secretary for Organisation & Mobilisation Ingrid Turinawe as well as other ordinary women outside the public’s gaze. Police has also stood by as ordinary women are harassed and undressed on the streets.

Continuing in this tradition of perpetrating and sanctioning violence against women, the police stripped Fatuma, a peace-loving Ugandan who was exercising her right to political participation as guaranteed under Article 29 (e) of the Constitution. Fatuma was stripped not just of her clothes but of her human dignity guaranteed to her under Article 24 of the constitution.

The actions of the police undermine all the gains that the human and women’s rights movement has made over the decades. We only recently just celebrated 20 years of the constitution and 53 years of independence from the inhumanness of colonialism. The constitution is unequivocal about the right of women guaranteed under Article 33. The police, like all other institutions and individuals, are expected to protect, respect and fulfill these constitutional rights.

We, concerned Ugandans, will not standby as these violations are ignored by those supposed to protect us. We wish to express our shock, disappointment and outrage at this treatment of Ugandan Citizens, particularly women, at the hands of Uganda Police.

We therefore demand that:

A full and public apology from the Inspector General of Police for this mistreatment of Ugandans at the hands of the Uganda Police is issued.

The IGP and the Ministry of Internal affairs ensure the police desist from humiliating those exercising their right to political participation. This is important in order to give a leveled playing ground to ensure peaceful 2016 elections. So far Uganda Police have failed Ugandans by openly taking sides.

IGP reins over errant police officers to restore true patriotism, discipline and professionalism as is expected from Uganda Police under Article 212 of the Constitution.

IGP reins over errant police officers to restore true patriotism, discipline and professionalism as is expected from Uganda Police under Article 212 of the Constitution.

IGP ensures that the police officers who perpetrated this hideous crime are taken through a fair, transparent disciplinary process and punished accordingly. The actions of the Police officers in undressing Fatuma are reprehensible. These despicable acts by those entrusted to protect Ugandans should not go unpunished.
That concrete steps be taken by the IGP to get redress and compensation for victims of such violence as well as prevent future abuse of Ugandans peacefully exercising their right to civic participation.

Members of Parliament revise laws like the Public Order Management Bill that emboldens the police to violate the rights of citizens and to ignore the Constitutional Court decision that reaffirmed freedom of assembly.

The Uganda Human Rights Commission impartially investigates and prosecutes these human rights violations perpetrated by police, bringing the case to a logical and fair conclusion.

We resolve that

With elections coming up, it is especially important that Ugandans be able to exercise their civic rights without fear of abuse.

We therefore call upon the Uganda Police to respect the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Ugandans while performing their duties and respect the law that extols them to use only reasonable force in making arrests. The Uganda Police must treat every Ugandan (woman or man) with the dignity and respect they deserve even while making an arrest.

We, as concerned Ugandans, expect the institutions we have entrusted with responsibility to protect and not harm us. But where they fail, we shall do whatever it takes to carry out the constitutional obligation to defend our rights and those of our fellow citizens.

We citizens of Uganda stand together to say No More to police brutality!

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