Tuesday, October 13, 2015
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT ON THE DEHUMANIZING AND DEGRADING TREATMENT OF WOMEN IN ACTIVE POLITICS BY THE UGANDA POLICE FORCE
We the Citizens of Uganda gathered here as leaders and representatives of civic associations that represent Women, Youth, Persons with Disabilities, who constitute the largest percentage of the Ugandan population (51.9 percent women and 78 percent youth) would like to express OUR DISAPPOINTMENT AND GRAVE CONCERN with the degrading and dehumanizing acts of violence perpetrated by the Uganda Police Force against women.
The women’s movement, civic associations and women leagues of political parties and citizens who identify with adherence to the Constitution by all state institutions strongly condemn the use of degrading and dehumanizing acts by the Uganda Police Force which is mandated to provide law and order. These acts manifest as both a political tool to intimidate women’s leadership but also as a grave human rights abuse.
The Women of Uganda recognize that these brutal acts are continuously perpetrated by State Organs under the guise of procuring a lawful arrest. For instance the indecent assault occasioned on several female political leaders who include Ingrid Turinawe, whose breast was fondled and the more recent scenario at Parliamentary Avenue. These are few of the several inhuman injustices witnessed by citizens of Uganda. These unlawful acts and human rights violations contravene the Constitution of Uganda where our aspirations and values as Ugandans are embedded including: Article 1 (3) of the Constitution states that: “All power and authority of Government and its organs derive from the Constitution, which in turn derives its authority from the people who consent to be governed in accordance with the Constitution”.
Article 2 (1) of the Constitution of Uganda states that the Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda and shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout Uganda.
Article 24 of the Constitution of Uganda states that: “No person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
Article 211 (3) which states that Uganda Police Force shall be nationalistic, patriotic, professional, disciplined, competent and productive and its members shall be citizens of Uganda of good character;
Article 212 of the Constitution of Uganda which spells out the functions of the police to include: protect life and property; preserve law and order; prevent and detect crime and cooperate with civilian authority and other security organs under this Constitution and the population
With these constitutional provisions in mind, on October 10, 2015, women, men and children watched with horror and disgust as various media outlets aired the degrading treatment of a female political leader during her arrest by Uganda Police Force en-route to Rukungiri district for a party activity. WDG and the women of Uganda condemn these degrading acts meted on citizens by the Uganda Police Force.
The manner in which the woman was arrested shocked many Ugandans, men, women and children alike as she was dragged, undressed and brutalized during her arrest.
As women of Uganda, we strongly denounce these violent acts which seek to intimidate and limit women’s full participation in active politics and political leadership. These attacks in our opinion are deliberate and pre-planned against women interested in leadership.
As concerned citizens, we call upon the Inspector General of Police to take immediate action against errant officers who were witnessed undressing, indecently assaulting and violently procuring an arrest of the woman. This abuse of power by selective duty bearers must be put to a stop hence forth.
To deter further actions by errant police officers during arrests; the women’s movement, the women’s leagues of political parties and the Women’s Democracy Group (WDG) STRONGLY DEMAND that:
- E. Gen. Y. K. Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, in exercising accountability to Ugandans and showing commitment to the inclusion of women in political leadership through the 1995 Constitution, re-affirm his support by calling upon all law enforcement and security organs to exercise their duties in line with the Constitution of Uganda.
- The Inspector General of Police assures the nation that such acts are not condoned by the Uganda Police Force;
- Fresh Guidelines be issued to all police officers to guide them as they make arrests;
- The police officers caught on camera undressing the woman be prosecuted in the courts of law;
- The Uganda Police Force informs Ugandans of the steps the police will take against the officers in question outside their prosecution;
- The Uganda Police Force offers an apology to the women of Uganda and Ugandans;
- The Uganda Police Force through its leadership assures citizens that such actions will not happen in the future;
- The Uganda Police Force provides a report on previously implicated officers who have abused their office in a similar manner; and
- The Uganda Police Force issues a warning to those officers who engage in criminality in the performance of their duties and take action where officers act outside their legal mandate.
For God and My country
UNITED WOMEN CAN!