COVID 19 A HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS IN UGANDA

George j Kanyihamba
Posted December 9, 2020 from Uganda
Police shoots to death.
Police shoots to death.: He was shot during political processions of one of the strong opposition leaders/presidential aspirant. (1/1)

 

The Covid 19 Disease was first reported in Wuhan china and subsequentely spread worldwide.The coronavirus was officially named severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) by the international committee on taxonomy of viruses based on phylogenetic analysis.the virus was confirmed to have reached Uganda in march 2020 as Uganda reported her first case on 21st/march and the first death on 23rd/july/2020. Since then there has been subsequent frustrations in the efforts torwards the respect of the inherent, natural entitlements/ Human rights in uganda because of the atrocities against humanity that the virus came with including those perpertrated by the state its self  through the security agencies in the due course of preventing further spread and those embeded in the health impact of the pandemic itself. Human rights are universal,inealible,indivisible,non-discriminatory and interdependent according to the UDHR of 1948 that constitute the international human rights framework of the UN bill of rights. Our economy as a country (Uganda) has been devasted ,our major  income sources stopped from operation,our education paused,our health services threatened,our accessibility limited due to the pressure of COVID 19. With a brief history of what has transpired in uganda with the past months in relation to COVID 19 that has brought a public health crisis in the country,Uganda turns out to be at the verge of Human rights crisis therefore shifting from a public health crisis to a human rights crisis especially to the marginalised groups in uganda.According to a study by Humanity in Action Denmark the economic or social hardships propelled by social distancing ,transport bans and closure of businesses especially for those at the margins.The use of COVID 19 for increased repressive action speaks to this development. According to a documentation by the uganda Human rights watch the security forces are recorded of beating,shooting and arbitrary detaining people across the country who are alleged to be in breach of the Government s COVID 19 measures. The incident that has gained most traction in international media is the arrest of 23 young LGBTQ+ people at a shelter on the outskirts of kampala on march 29 and detained 19 0f them without access to a court,legal representation or medication at least untill april 29. After declaring COVID 19 a global pandemic,the world health organisation(WHO) warned that Africa in particular should brace itself as COVID 19 could stretch already fragile health systems to their breaking point.The measures in uganda heed these warning but they also disregard the lived realities of ordinary ugandans who cannot stay at home,do not have a home or need to work to survive.

However;  Amidst all we can build back better putting human rights at the core of  COVID 19 recovery in a sense that the government and stakeholders should strike a balance between preventing COVID 19 and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms as stipulated in chapter 4 of the 1995 Ugandan  constitution for example the  government should ensure that its security forces such as the police, Army, LDUs and other agencies refrain from excessive use of force, torture and committing of abuses which is against the non-derogeable  rights as prescribed by article 44 that is have freedom from torture, degrading and in human treatment which includes beating, shooting and arbitrarily detaining people across the country for example on 26th march police shot 2 construction workers Alex oryem and Kassim  Ssebudde who were riding a motorcycle taxi in mukono outside kampala, on 26th march, members of the LDU used wires and sticks to beat people including vendors selling fruits ,one woman started crying in Luganda ‘’why are you beating me? What crime have I committed? Iam trying to survive’’. The basic human rights of people should therefore be at the center of COVID 19 recovery that is  basic human rights should be put in account when responding to the pandemic so that much as it is the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens but it should not do this through violation of  the known fundamental human rights and freedoms.As we patiently wait for the cure and vaccine for this pandemic,we need to protect livelihoods, businesses and human rights as a universal value for example protection of the right to life as stipulated under article 22 of the 1995 ugandan constitution and article 3 of the 1948 UDHR.Protection of personal liberty,respect of human dignity and protection from inhuman and degrading treatment.therefore all measures in the fight of COVID 19 should be in respect of human dignity and when recovering economically,socially,politically and culturally human rights should be put at the core of the COVID 19 recovery.   GEORGE JUSTICE KANYIHAMBA.

   HUMAN RIGHTS KYAMBOGO.

This story was submitted in response to Dispatches from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Comments 1

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Jill Langhus
Dec 11, 2020
Dec 11, 2020

Hi George,

Thanks for sharing your sad post about the state of your country and the prevalent violence. I was hoping that Uganda wasn't doing too poorly in light of COVID from some of the other countries, but especially since the recent riot, it's definitely concerning, too. I hope the trend turns around soon and that peace can be restored. Thanks for bringing awareness to these challenges.