OHCHR, the UPF, and the UHRC conclude a set of capacity-building training in human rights for senior police officers in the Rwenzori sub-region.

Fort Portal, May 2021: The UN Human Rights Office, the Uganda Police Force, and the Uganda Human Rights Commission conducted a three-day capacity building in human rights for 38 (30 male and 8 female) senior police officers from Kasese and Bundibugyo districts in the Rwenzori sub-region.

The training was a conclusion of a set of capacity-building activities in human rights developed and implemented under the auspices of the United Nations Peace Building Fund (PBF) project, which focuses on “Harnessing the Youth’s Potential for Sustaining Peace in Uganda, and in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, aimed at building peace, justice, and strong institutions. The PBF project is being jointly implemented by the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the UN Human Rights Office. The PBF project recognizes the central role of the youth and women in peace architecture and re-affirms the role of the youth in sustaining peace and in the prevention of conflict in Uganda.

The series of capacity building workshops in human rights for senior police officers have benefited a total of 114 police[1] officers (23 female and 91 male) from the four districts of  Kampala, Wakiso, Kasese, and Bundibugyo which were considered crucial in the sustainability of peace during the electoral period 2020-21.

The key topics discussed during the training included; general introduction to human rights, international, regional, and national human rights instruments and institutions, the prevention and fight against torture including a focus on the Convention Against Torture (CAT), the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act (PPTA) 2012, the Human Rights Enforcement Act, (HREA) 2019, upholding human rights during police operations, guidelines on the use of force in law enforcement, gender and youth consideration by police, professionalism, ethics, and deontology with the police, accountability for human rights violations by the police. 

It is important to highlight the strong commitment ad partnership of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), and the Uganda Police Force (UPF) in the implementation of all the capacity-building activities. The UHRC made inputs in the preparation of the working documents of the training and provided facilitators on most of the topics including the mandate and work of the Commission. The UPF assisted in identifying and selecting participants while mindful of as much as possible of gender considerations. The UPF also provided facilitators on a number of topics such as Ethics and deontology, professionalism, and practical ways to address challenges currently facing the police in their daily duties.   

It might be a bit early to assess the impact of these activities, which were at times coupled with advocacy efforts such as radio programs for community awareness but one can state that they have significantly contributed to easing the seemingly tense situation and fostering dialogue and cooperation between the Police and the community in these hot spots.

The meeting agreed that more efforts must be made in areas such as:

a)      Adequate and sufficient equipment for the police to enable them to carry out their duties with minimal damage to the community;

b)      Advocacy for more and swift accountability for human rights violations by police officers so that it serves as a deterrent to others;

c)      More awareness-raising by OHCHR, the UHRC, the UPF, and other relevant actors for the community and especially the youth, media professionals to engage more constructively with the Police.

d)      Advocacy for the improvement of the general conditions of work of the Police.

e)      Reproduction and dissemination of the UPF Human Rights Policy, 2019.

f)       Reinvigoration of the JLOS in the Rwenzori region.

The UN Human Rights Office will liaise with the UHRC and the UPF on how to implement these recommendations.

[1] For the training of Wakiso senior police officers, there were 37 participants (11 female and 26 male) and for the Kampala Metropolitan Area training for senior police officers, there were 39 participants (4 female and 35 male)