In Uganda, policing has been characterised by excess use of force against protesters, torture and unlawful detention, severe treatment of journalists and human rights defenders and a lack of accountability in relation to police misconduct. CHRI work in partnership with local organisations to advocate for professional, accountable, human rights based policing in Uganda. CHRI also work to educate both the public and police on policing and human rights related matters.
Legal analysis and advocacy
In 2012, CHRI conducted advocacy on the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture Bill in collaboration with the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims. CHRI wrote directly to key Members of Parliament, including the Members of the Legal and Parliamentary Committee encouraging passage of the legislation. The Bill was passed into law within the following month.
CHRI also prepares legal submissions on draft legislation that affects policing and human rights in Uganda, including the Public Order Management Bill 2011 and the Communications and Regulatory Authority Bill 2012. These submissions analyse the draft laws and suggest appropriate changes to ensure the laws meet the requirements of the Constitution and human rights law and standards.
CHRI uses the media to advocate for reform of the police, including: encouraging passage of the anti-torture legislation; establishment of an independent body to oversee police misconduct investigations; investigation into the conduct of the disbanded Rapid Response Unit; an explanation of why the proposed draft Public Order Management Bill violates the Constitution and basic human rights; and others.
CHRI also works to educate the public on the role and responsibilities of the police, and the rights of the public when interacting with the police. We have partnered with the Human Rights Network of Uganda to prepare a simple public education booklet on policing and people’s rights: ‘101 Things that You Always Wanted to Know About the Police but Were Too Afraid to Ask’ (also available in Luganda and Luo). The booklet is an extension of CHRI’s 101 policing series, which has been very successful in South Asia. The booklet will be published in 2013.
The status of policing and police reform in Uganda is addressed in CHRI’s 2014 regional report ‘A Force for Good? Improving the Police in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda’. In 2006, CHRI published a seminal report on police accountability in Uganda: The Police, The People, The Politics: Police Accountability in Uganda. The report outlines the situation of police accountability in Uganda, the reforms that need to take place and sets out a roadmap for achieving this reform. CHRI conducted research and fact finding missions in preparation for this report in the preceding years 2003-2005.
In 2006, CHRI also published a report on the policing budgets in Uganda, looking at the impact that funding has on police performance, crime management and community safety: A Review of the Uganda Police Force Budget and its Effect on Crime Management.