British lawmakers criticise Uganda police over brutalityBy RISDEL KASASIRA | Friday, April 27 2012 at 10:48
International outcry against rising cases of police brutality against opponents of President Yoweri Museveni’s regime and journalists continues to gather momentum with British Members of Parliament now asking for pressure to be brought to bear on the Ugandan government.
The British Parliamentary Hansard recorded the legislators during a debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday, saying respect for fundamental freedoms and civil liberties was rapidly declining amidst the most appalling abuses of human rights in Uganda.
MP Clifton-Brown said through the African Union and the Commonwealth association, pressure “must be applied” on the Ugandan government to uphold “their responsibilities to their people”.
The MPs recount a litany of attacks against opposition politicians and journalists in their debate which comes at a time when civil society groups in Uganda are heightening calls for an end to the continued police brutality.
This followed assertions by Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown that Foreign Office representatives in Kampala fear to confront President Museveni on the mounting abuse of human rights.
The UK High Commission in Kampala said they would respond to the MP’s claims today.
The legislators’ outcry came two days after the American Embassy in Kampala condemned the violent groping of breasts of the leader of the FDC women league, Ms Ingrid Turinawe, during her arrest.
“We condemn any excessive use of force by police or protestors. We urge the Uganda government to respect citizen rights to assemble freely and encourage Uganda to investigate allegations of excessive use of force by security services,” US embassy official Dan Travis said.
References to this incident are also recorded in the House of Commons Hansard with the MPs noting that Ms Turinawe was sexually assaulted.
However, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem said the British MPs were debating from an “uninformed” position.
“They were debating from a one-sided point of view. There is freedom of assembly and speech for everyone. They only listened to what the opposition was saying and have not taken time to understand what goes on in this country,” he said.
Colengton MP Fiona Bruce said Uganda has “huge potential”, but, added that government must take action to rectify the “seriously deteriorating human rights situation”.
But Internal Affairs Minister Hilary Onek described Clifton’s remarks as an attempt by the British to re-colonise Uganda.
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Beyond the ballot