Human Rights Violations Forcing Opposition Supporters to Exile – LOP

The Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga says the gross human rights violations like arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings have forced many opposition supporters to run into exile.

This is contained in his statement issued on Saturday in commemoration of International Human Rights Day. The day, which was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1948 is commemorated on December 10th, annually.

The UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which proclaims the inalienable rights entitled to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status.

This year, the day is commemorated under the theme; “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.” However, Mpuuga notes that while Uganda is a signatory to the UDHR among other international protocols that guarantee the respect of rights and freedoms continues to witness acts of gross human rights violations. 

“These are some of the atrocities that Gen. Museveni has always criticized the previous regimes! His criticism of former Presidents Idi Amin and Milton Obote should not blind us to the atrocities by armed gangs under his command,” he said.

He adds that it is also worrying that the judiciary seems to have found it convenient to side with the oppressor, noting that some judicial officers continue to entertain cases of grossly tortured suspects in their courtrooms.

“We shall not cease to demand justice for victims and their families. Where justice fails, retribution and revenge become a societal norm. We are a community of humans that desire justice as a sustainable approach to societal peace. No one will get away with injustice; justice and truth walk in the same lane,” the Nyendo- Mukungwe MP said.

Mpuuga notes that his office will continue to demand the truth about people who are without a trace and require that government makes full accountability of every person, and bring to book individuals and groups that have and continue to perpetrate human rights violations in the country.

The Opposition has in the past two years accused the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government of torture, detention without trial, and enforced disappearance of their supporters. The Opposition has tabled different lists of people whom they claim are missing before parliament and demanded accountability from the government. 

This week, Mpuuga declined to resubmit a fresh list of the abductees and asked the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, and her team to retrieve a record of the Parliamentary proceedings for the lists.

Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa who chaired this meeting later informed parliament that another meeting will be held on Tuesday next week before they report back to the House on the way forward. Tayebwa appealed for the submission of any new cases of missing people if any for government action.

Internal Affairs Minister Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire accused the National Unity Platform (NUP) party early this week of allegedly parading fake torture victims at the UN human rights conference in Kenya last month. According to Otafiire, some of the pictures that were exhibited were of victims of Boda boda crashes.

“These were boda boda accident victims. The government does not drive boda boda and it has never put anyone on boda boda. I have directed the crime intelligence director to look for these people and hand them to the CID director [Brig Gen Chris Damulira] so that they can be taken to court,” Gen Otafiire said on Thursday.

He says that those masquerading as torture victims should be charged with treason as well as those who paraded them. Mpuuga challenged Otafiire to inform the country where and when the Boda-boda accidents he is referring to happened.

“He should tell the police before it invites us to release a report to Ugandans about these alleged boda boda accidents. He should also inform the country about the police patrol cars that knocked down people intentionally on camera…what had these people done? We are certain of our reports and we appeal for accountability,” said Mpuuga.

Between 2020 and 2021, several people subscribing to the People Power Movement, which metamorphosed into NUP were abducted, and held incommunicado for several months but resurfaced with grave injuries all over their bodies.

Former CMI commander, Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, who was transferred to Uganda Police Force as chief of joint staff barely a year ago, was sanctioned by the United State for having directed or personally participated in the abductions and torture of Ugandans because of their political affiliation.  

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