Lira Police Miss Awards Over Brutality

2117 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
The recent police actions to use live bullets, beatings and brutal arrests while attempting to block peaceful demonstrations by electricity consumers in Lira are beginning to haunt the force.

A local Non Governmental Organisation in Lira district has suspended a popular annual activity, which has been presenting awards to police officers in recognition of their efforts to promote human rights.
 
Facilitation for Peace and Development – FAPAD – initiated the Best Police Officer of the Year Awards in 2009 to help promote, protect and uphold human rights in the sub region.
 
But the police actions last week to use live bullets, beatings and brutal arrests while attempting to block peaceful demonstrations by electricity consumers in Lira appear to have forced the organizers to change their mind.
 
Vincent Oling, the FAPAD board chairman said on Friday that they were suspending the activity with immediate effect as a direct protest against the conduct of the officers and men of the Uganda Police Force in handling Human Rights issues in Lango sub region.
 
Two former MPs Charles Angiro and Isha Otto were among four people who were brutally arrested during a violent crack down on an anti Umeme demonstration in Lira town. The four were later charged in court and released on bail.
 
Oling says that the conduct of the Uganda Police Force before and after the 2011 elections has violated the fundamental principles of human rights through brutality, illegal detentions, intimidation, harassment and faking of charges, acts he described as inhumane and illegitimate.
 
He explained that the recent violent crackdown on Uganda citizens expressing themselves in peaceful expressions in Lira and elsewhere in Uganda, and the subsequent inhumane treatment of those arrested have tainted the image and credibility of the Uganda Police Force both locally and internationally.
 
Oling says it would be hypocritical against such background for his organization to reward such actions by the institution that has been acting contrary to its constitutional mandate of protecting lives and property of all Ugandans.
 
He however said FAPAD would continue to partner with the Uganda Police Force Child and Family Protection, Community Liaisons and the Criminal Investigations Units in Lango sub region and Police Headquarters in enhancing community policing work, and investigations leading to fair prosecutions.
 
He urged the leadership of the Uganda Police Force to observe all the fundamental principles of human rights when quelling civil protest.
 
Henry Alyanga, the police spokesperson in charge of central north region defended police saying their action was proportional and necessary. He accused the organization of double standards saying it never defends the police whenever they face the wrath of the public.