Torture survivors petition UN to stop funding UHRC

  • by Rodney Mponye
  • February 15, 2022

Dozens of torture survivors yesterday thronged the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), accusing the Uganda Human Rights Commission of being silent on torture incidents by security operatives.

Mr John Bosco Sserunkuuma, a councillor in Wakiso District, led more than 50 members of the Torture Survivors of Uganda, to seek justice.

“The Uganda Human Rights Commission insists that we are violating the rights of armed services for telling the truth about what has happened to us. They have sided with a bloodthirsty dictator and do not want us to expose the ways his brutality has affected us. So all of the evidence you need is here on our bodies,” read the petition in part.

Mr Sserunkuuma was arrested in November 2020 and kept incommunicado for more than three weeks. His relatives and friends pronounced him dead and held a funeral service at their home in Wakiso District. Two days later, pictures of him appeared on social media indicating that he was held at Kitalya Prison.

The petition comes at a time when torture incidents have increased with the most recent victims being Mr Samuel Masereka, a NUP coordinator from Kasese District, and Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, who has since fled the country.

In their petition, the survivors of torture indicate that many NUP party members, who are led by Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, are still being held without trial.

In response, the UHRC responded indicating that they have been condemning torture at all levels and have been doing their best to make sure that due justice is dispensed to victims.

“We specifically wish to inform the general public and all relevant stakeholders that UHRC has taken a keen interest in the past allegations that have been paling out in the media in the recent past. UHRC made efforts to ascertain where Mr Kakwenza was held and urged the government to ensure that he was produced in court to face any possible charges against him,” read the statement in part.

Last week, NUP released a list of 178 members whom they say have been tortured by security.

UHRC officials last evening said they could not readily avail the number of complaints that have been registered in their books because they were out of office.