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MPs, Civil Society Decry Human Rights Abuses in West Nile Prisons

MP Jova Kamateka who heads the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights speaking on Wednesday

Members of Parliament and civil society have decried the overcrowding and long detention without trial for more than 6 years in Uganda’s prison system.

They also raised concern over the deplorable sleeping conditions and unsanitary places of convenience for the detainees.

This was during a visit on Wednesday to Arua government prison where the delegation discovered that children aged 16 were detained in adult prisons. The women’s wing had more women than earlier fathomed some with babies.

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Court dates had since increased but were not enough to deal with the backlog experienced in the region.

MP Jova Kamateka who heads the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights asked that the committee be opened up so that such cases are reported.

“Women prisoners in Adjumani don’t have beds and those in Arua have beds. How can a prison designed with a capacity of 200 hold 914 inmates, here http://cortrium.com/wp-includes/post-template.php ” questioned Hon. Kamateka.

However prison officials explained that they couldn’t turn away individuals sent by the courts.

CSOs also decried corruption among elders and the police in the region, they alluded the rise in human rights injustices to corruption in the forms of delayed justice, incarceration of the innocent, witchcraft and mob action also posed a threat to human rights issues, they said.

This was during a stakeholders meeting organized by Centre for Policy Analysis in partnership with Uganda Human rights Commission on the state of human rights in the West Nile region in Arua

The activity was a part of a series of meetings aimed to get in touch with the grass root individuals who often times are ignored in advocacy for human rights in Uganda.

The meeting was strategically held after the Human Rights Committee had been in the region on a fact-finding mission that included but was not limited to refugees, prisons, boarder conflict and the corresponding emerging human rights issues on the same.

Over 65 members from the justice, law and order sector in the region participated in the discussion.

Other major findings by the committee included a huge influx of refugees especially in Adjumani, in Pagilinya Refugee settlement there were over 175,000 refugees, however with limited security and social amenities that would enable them realize their rights.

Some refugees that entered the country were also armed a fact causing concern in neighboring towns.

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