Activists Reinstate demand for Torture Victims Compensation Fund

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In short
The activists, from the African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims claim they have waited far too long for Parliament to act on a petition calling for the establishment of the fund. The petition was submitted to speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga in 2013.

Advocates for the compensation of torture victims in Uganda want government to establish the Torture victims’ Compensation Fund ahead of 2016 general elections when they anticipate the vice to shoot-up.

The activists, from the African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims claim they have waited far too long for Parliament to act on a petition calling for the establishment of the fund. The petition was submitted to speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga in 2013.

According to Uganda Human Rights Commission, Torture prevalence stands at 37.1 percent among various forms of Human Rights Abuses in Uganda.

It says more than 300 survivors of torture are waiting for at least Ugx 3 Billion in compensation arrears for the torture they endured in the hands of armed state agencies including Police, Prisons, Army and the Civil Military Intelligence Unit. The claim does not include those from families of massacred relatives in Northern Uganda.

Dr. Judith Aloyo, the Center’s Gulu Branch Manager says the pharmacological torture involving the use of drugs is fast replacing physical torture to conceal evidence. She says in addition to having a compensation fund, government should invest resources in establishing a pharmacological analytical laboratory to establish the nature of drugs being used in torture.
 
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Dr. Aloyo says two victims from Nwoya district have so far been awarded Ugx 200 Million in compensation after suffering pharmacological torture over land and poaching in Murchison Falls National Park in 2011.

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Samuel Herbert Nsubuga, the Center’s Chief Executive Officer observes that in addition to implementing the prevention and prohibition of torture Act 2012 which advocates for personal responsibility, government should also empower the police to conduct forensic crime investigations to prevent torture as we approach the 2016 general election.

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Nsubuga says MPs on the legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee should use this time to remind parliament to prevail over issues of the Victims’ Compensation Fund for prompt payment of claims and a regulation that will empower the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to implement the prevention and prohibition of torture Act 2012.
 
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About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.