I wish to acknowledge the recent address of H.E. The President, where he strongly condemned the continued use of torture by security agencies including the police, during its enforcement operations. Areas of concern included use of excessive force, brutality, detention for long hours without trial, induced confession among others. I do further acknowledge that the communication from the President was in line with the various Anti-torture laws of Uganda, which prohibit all acts of torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. There is no justification whatsoever under any circumstances, or orders from a superior officer or public authority for torture.
Although, under the police we cannot claim a perfect record in the fight against torture, my leadership has long been vigorous in fighting torture with very strict prohibitions. However, as a result of continued concerns of torture, I pledge to continue reviewing our efforts to ensure appropriate guidelines on the use of force and authority are respected. And further ensure that all perpetrators of torture and other forms of physical, mental and psychological abuse by police officers are punished.
I want to thank the government for enacting the important legislation on the prohibition of torture, which institutes criminal and civil action for practices of misconduct by those responsible for torture and other forms of cruel and inhumane treatment of suspects.
I have tasked the Directorate of Human Rights and Legal Services, that is actively enforcing the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act 2012, and the Human Rights Enforcement Act, that permit criminal prosecution of police officers who wilfully deprive individuals and groups of their rights and freedoms, to come up with a list of all police officers prosecuted. We have shared the help lines aimed at addressing all concerns of torture by police officers. These are 0714668083 and 0707-601052.
As I conclude, I do reiterate that torture is categorically denounced as a matter of policy in the police, and we remain committed to the full and effective implementation of our obligation under the Anti-torture and Human Rights Enforcement Laws of our country.
Through the Directorate of Human Rights and Legal Services, we have rolled out the Anti-torture laws, where emphasis has been on the protection of every individual life, liberty and physical integrity. We are also reviewing our policies and practices to ensure compliance with the Anti-torture laws. Our frontline units from the Professional Standards Unit, the Human Rights Department and the Disciplinary Courts have pursued all allegations of torture as an integral part of the UPF policy on Human Rights and the prohibition of torture which was launched in 2019.
J.M.Okoth Ochola (Esq)
Inspector General of Police
16th August 2021