Refugees Not Enjoying Constitutional Right to Bail – Report

2154 Views

In short
According to the report, different people interviewed by the researchers, noted Magistrates use the lack of a fixed place of abode for the suspect and sureties as the main reason for denying them bail and therefore end up remanding them to different prisons until their cases are concluded.

Refugees in Uganda are not benefiting from their constitutional right to bail because of stringent bail terms, a new report has revealed. The report focuses on rule of law, access to justice and security needs in refugee settlements and host communities in Isingiro and Arua. 



It was produced by the Legal Aid Services Provider's Network-LASPNET with funding from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The reports noted that more than 47 percent of the sampled households had people who had failed to get police bond and bail due to their refugee status.  
 
According to the report, different people interviewed by the researchers, noted Magistrates use the lack of a fixed place of abode for the suspect and sureties as the main reason for denying them bail and therefore end up remanding them to different prisons until their cases are concluded. 

The same reason is given by police to deny refugee suspects bond leading to detention for weeks and even months before the case is taken to court. 21-year-old Robert Wani, a South Sudanese refugee from Invempi Refugee Settlement in Arua is one of the victims. 

Wani has spent a week in custody at Arua Police Station for alleged defilement. He was arrested and taken to Invempi police post but the complainant left for Juba with the alleged defilement victim without even recording a police statement or taking the victim for medical examination.    

Wani was later transferred to Arua Police Station, which continues holding him despite failing to slap any charges against him.  His relative, Suzan Morico says this is just one of the many injustices they face in the resettlement centres.  


//Cue in: "No one is …

Cue out: … suffering there."//   


The UNDP Resident representative in Uganda, Almaz Gebru, says denial of bail is just one of the injustices and challenges in pursuit of Justice that was discovered during the report writing.   

Other challenges include language barriers between the refugees and the police as well as between the refugees, prosecutors and Magistrates. She also notes that there is also a lack of access to legal representation, corruption as well as few female police officers to handle Sexual offences against women and girls. 


//Cue in: "It is important … 

Cue out: … to be done,"//   


Dr Christopher Mbazira, the Lead Researcher, says some of these challenges have led the majority of the refugees to begin using informal justice systems. The study shows that at least one in every four respondents to the survey had used the informal justice system in the past year. 

//Cue in: "So people were... 

Cue out: … for them."//   


The survey covered three refugee settlements including Imvepi and Rhino in Arua and Nakivale Refugee settlement in Isingiro. A total of 640 refugee households in the three settlements were interviewed as well as 200 households from the host community.      

 

Tagged with: bail refugees undp unhcr

About the author

Dear Jeanne
Dear Jeanne is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Jeanne has been a URN staff member since 2014.

Jeanne started out as a political and crime reporter for NBS television in 2010. She went on to become a news director at the station before leaving in 2012 to join The Daily Monitor as an investigative reporter in 2012.

Jeanne is ambitious to improve her investigative reporting skills. Jeanne’s focus for much of her five year career has been to report on crime and security.