Implementation Of Law Against Torture In Uganda Still Remains A Challenge
“The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act (PPTA), 2012, provides for the prevention of torture and redress for those who have been subjected to torture. However, the law has not yet been effectively implemented.” These were remarks made by Samuel Nsubuga, the CEO of African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) - a partner of DGF - during a review meeting on the progress on the implementation of the PPTA held on 15th August, 2019 in which various representatives across the select Ministries, Departments and Agencies participated.
The meeting highlighted a number recommendations including but not limited to: the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to work together to ensure that cases of torture adjudicated upon by UHRC not only settle for compensations but are also referred to office of the DPP for further prosecution, Uganda Police Force to strengthen the use of the main stream judicial system courts to prosecute their Police Officers who commit crimes of torture other than their internal disciplinary courts, ACTV and other stakeholders to continuously engage its representatives across all units in addressing cases of torture to ensure transparency on the decisions made in regard to the cases of torture presented.
The DGF is supporting ACTV to provide torture-related holistic rehabilitation services including physical and psychological care. Noteworthy is from 2011 to 2017, ACTV registered and treated 8,743 new survivors of torture in Uganda. In 2017 alone, ACTV provided mental health needs to 200 survivors through 1,500 individual and group psychological counselling in addition to social counselling to 352 survivors of torture.
The DGF is also supporting partners such as Penal Reform International (PRI), African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) to implement interventions aimed at addressing torture in Uganda through; piloting use of investigative interviews, implementing safeguards to prevent and detect torture in prisons, and strengthening independent oversight of detention facilities and rehabilitating victims of conflict and conflict affected communities, for effective recovery and enabling community participation in transitional justice processes