Human rights violations have increased during coronavirus lockdown – ULS Report

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The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has Friday launched its Rule of Law ( quarter two) report for the period between April and June, 2020 which focuses on aspects of human rights, accountability, checks and balances during the Coronavirus lockdown period.

According to the report, presented virtually by the Law Society President Simon Peter Kinobe, there has been an increase in violations of the right to freedom from torture or cruel inhumane treatment as enshrined in the Constitution.

‘’ We realised an increase in these incidents most especially vetted unto citizens by our Local Defense Units. While some of them have been brought to the attention of Government which has taken action, we continue to experience such incidents and need a lasting solution ’’  The report reads in part.

There has been abuse of the right to life during the enforcement of government guidelines against the spread of the pandemic, with some individuals being shot at and on several occasions killed by both the Uganda police and Local Defence Units as well as an increase in cases of domestic violence, according to the report. Local Defence Units which operate under the Ugandan Army have been under the spotlight for gross violent acts against ugandan citizens and have ever since been disbanded.

The plight of special interest groups such as the disabled is captured in the Rule of Law report, specifically in terms of transport especially in respect of those who use public transport. They literally had no mobility for the time of the lockdown, acoording to the report noting however this has been eased up with the opening of public transport despite hiked costs.

With regard to the health system, the report highlights challenges especially relating to HIV patients who could no longer afford and get access to medication because of the paralysed transport system. Patients with chronic ailments like cancer, diabetes among others, notes the report, have been forgotten which shouldn’t have  happened.

There has also been an increase in teenage pregnancies, according to the report, an issue that should be tackled as well as the fact that little attention has been paid to victims of landslides among others.  Concerning the aspect of checks and balances, the National Bar Association said there have been challenges in this area.


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‘’We saw government present budgets to parliament, a check to expenditure and instead of doing their work, they awarded themselves with ten billion’’ Mr Kinobe said

‘’ We have seen a blatant disregard of court orders from the house and the failure of the house to respect the judiciary. There’s need to bring the same to order.’’

On transparency and accountability, the report is positive and says this has increased during the Coronavirus lockdown especially in terms of fighting corruption.

‘’ We have seen entities like Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Rural Electrification Agency among others being overhauled to fight the vice of corruption’’ The report states.

Mr. Simon Kinobe, while stressing that the Rule of Law Report is not a condemnation, called upon different stakeholders to read the report and make the necessary changes to ensure Uganda is a fully law abiding country. According to him, the report is intended to help different stake holders improve on their conduct and their enforcement of human rights.


 

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