News / Africa

Ugandan Government Asked to Probe Security Force Violence

Police in Kampala arrest alleged rioters , April 29, 2011
Police in Kampala arrest alleged rioters , April 29, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

A human rights group is calling on the Uganda government to conduct “a prompt, independent and thorough investigation” into the recent use of lethal force by security forces.

Human Rights Watch says the violence took place during demonstrations last month over government spending and high food and fuel prices.  It also accuses security force members of beatings, rapes and theft.

“We carried out an investigation over the last couple of weeks into some of the killings that took place in the month of April when Uganda had been experiencing a number of protests over inflation and rising commodity prices. And we were able to determine through our research and investigations, that in at least 9 instances, that we were able to document, killings by security forces,” said Maria Burnett is senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch in Kampala.

She said the findings indicate the use of live ammunition against civilians was unnecessary.

“This is a historical problem in Uganda. We have documented these kinds of problems before, particularly in September 2009 when there were demonstrations against the government and over 40 people were killed in two days by the military using live ammunition,” said Burnett.

She said the government never followed through on its pledge to investigate.

“First of all, perpetrators should be held accountable, but frankly, the government has lost credibility in its commitments to investigate,” she said.

The investigation

“We interviewed multiple eyewitnesses at the places where people actually lost their lives. It’s not just about the individual killings, but what was going on in the area at the time. What kinds of demonstrations were occurring? What were other people doing in the area?”

HRW investigators also talk to the pathologist at the morgue. In some instances we were able to see the dead bodies ourselves,” said Burnett, “And we were able to interview family members of those who had been killed. We did also talk to the military and to some extent the police about some of our concerns, particularly with the military in Gulu, who were heavily deployed in a situation which really did not warrant the use of live ammunition.”

Human Rights Watch has not yet presented all of its findings to the government or police officials yet.

“Obviously, it’s a very busy time for them here with ongoing demonstrations today and an inauguration on Thursday. But it will be part of our work going forward. And shared the basic results of the findings, but I have not had the opportunity to sit down and actually go through each killing independently,” she said.

Donor support

The humanitarian group is also calling on donors “to end support and training of Ugandan police and military units until the killings are investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.”

“We haven’t gotten a response to that yet,” said Burnett, “Historically, when we’ve talked to donors about this issue they have felt that it’s better to engage with the police and the military, so that there is a relationship that can build leverage. And clearly, we understand that and we have not condemned support for those units historically.”

However, she said police received a great deal of support, especially from Britain and Ireland, in the run-up to the presidential election in February. Burnett estimates the British and Irish governments spent about $3 million to train Ugandan police.

Burnett said, “I think it’s important the donors actually have some boundaries as to when their support will actually come to an end. So this isn’t a permanent ban we’re calling for. Rather, end it, until you see accountability here.”

The U.S. also provides some training as well, but Burnett said it relates more to counter-terrorism operations.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid