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UHRC-Coalition Members issue joint statement ahead of the Anti-Torture Day 2024 commemoration

Published On June 19, 2024  |  by UHRC

The Uganda Human Rights Commission and partner organizations under the Coalition Against Torture chaired by the African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) have held a joint press conference today and issued a joint statement on freedom from Torture.

In the statement, the parties announced the plans to jointly commemorate the UN Day in Support of Torture Victims (Anti-torture Day) and also gave a brief assessment of the state of observance and protection of the freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. 

“Every year, on June 26th, the world observes the UN Day in Support of Torture Victims. This day enables annual reflection about the progress made by both the state and non-state actors towards the prevention and protection of freedom from torture. It is also dedicated towards continued awareness raising, supporting victims and promoting accountability on the part of duty bearers,” reads in part the joint statement that was jointly issued by Member of the Commission, Hon. Crispin Kaheru who represented the Chairperson Hon. Mariam Wangadya and the CEO ACTV Mr. Samuel Herbert Nsubuga at the UHRC headquarters today (June 19, 2024).

Hon. Kaheru issued the joint statement in English and Mr. Nsubuga translated it in Luganda language. 
See full statement

Among the questions the media asked was whether the Commission has been able to trace and visit Hon. Akamba who was arrested by unknown people wilding guns immediately after he was granted bail at the Anti-corruption court and the challenges we face in investigating cases of torture, apart from the challenge of limited funds.

Our Director of Research, Education and Documentation Mr Byonabye Kamadi explained in respect of Hon. Akamba that the Commission contacted the Uganda Police Force and was informed that they (the police) did not have him, but Akamba’s lawyers had done a press conference attesting that they had seen him and he is in good health. 

“As a Commission, we visit and monitor gazetted places of detention but given the manner in which he was arrested and taken, we have found difficulty accessing him,” he said. 

Among the challenges he listed affecting investigation of torture cases is the fact that many of the torture victims suffer from hallucinations so it becomes difficult to tell what they are exactly talking about, others fear to report contemplating reprisals and lack of gadgets to investigate unique cases of torture. 

The other person who contributed to answering some of the questions asked by the Media was Mr. Kiirya Paul Mukalere the Communication and advocacy officer of the ACTV who noted that the media and the general public should not focus on statistics or figures about torture but should focus on the prevalence because “even if it is one person who has been tortured, that person should concern all of us.”

The press conference was attended by over 30 members of the press, representatives from partner organizations, and staff at the UHRC & ACTV. 

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