23 January 2013

Uganda: Rights Body Speaks Out on Murders

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has expressed concern over the increasing number of homicides, which is denying Ugandans the right to life, and called on police to apprehend and prosecute the killers.

The UHRC chairperson Med Kaggwa said, "The commission is concerned about the magnitude and atrocious manner in which these murders are being executed by ruthless but seemingly organized hit gangs who so far seem to have eluded the law."

Kaggwa was addressing journalists during a press conference at the UHRC headquarters in Kampala on Wednesday. He was flanked by fellow commissioners who included Col. Steven Basaliza.

Kaggwa said, "Uganda Human Rights Commission is of the strong view that murder also has far reaching human rights consequences especially deprivation of the right to life of the victims.

"Other human rights consequences associated with this vice are the violation of human dignity, security, personal safety, privacy of person and home; the right to education for the bereaved children and disruption of peace in affected communities."

He cited the murders which have instilled fear in the local communities in Wakiso, Mukono, Masaka and Rakai; yet killer gangs continue to engage in criminal activities because of the failure of security agencies to arrest them.

Kaggwa cited the recent murder in Rakai district of nine members of a household; as well as other murders in Masaka where a family of five people was wiped out.

"The commission is appalled by the gruesome method of killing in all these murders by cutting the throats of victims," he added.

"It is important that security agencies expeditiously apprehend and prosecute the suspect, in order to get to the root cause of these unexplained murders and manage the anxiety among communities and the country at large," Kaggwa added.

He also recommended intensifying community policing, improving the capacity of police to detect, investigate, prevent crime, strengthening border security, and counseling of the survivors.

He also called for public vigilance and sensitization, expediting of the National ID programme to ensure easy identification of people, and revival of the local council grassroots structures.

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