Ruth Ssekindi, Uganda
After years of efforts by local and international human rights groups, including the APT, Uganda enacted the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act in 2012. Ruth Ssekindi, Director of the Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, anticipates that the Anti-torture Act will go a long way in contributing to the eradication of torture in the country:
"The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act criminalises torture and ill-treatment and reinforces the respect for human dignity. But the adoption of the law was not an end in itself. We have now focused on the need to ensure that it is properly implemented."
In February 2013, the Uganda Human Rights Commission, together with its partners, therefore developed a roadmap to help set the priorities and to guide all relevant stakeholders on actions and activities that are required to implement the law.
"There is still limited awareness about the Act. Police officers, prosecutors, lawyers, magistrates, judges and civil society organisations are implementing actors, yet they have very little knowledge of the provisions in this law. This is a main challenge for us and also why we have to continue our efforts on training."
APT has been a key partner for the Uganda Human Rights Commission since 2008, supporting the drafting of the anti-torture law, providing training for various actors (members of parliament, lawyers, judges, police, prison officials and others) and advocating for ratification of the torture prevention treaty, OPCAT.
"The strategic partnership with APT means a lot to us and we appreciate the commitment and transparency – as well as the confidence that you have shown in the Uganda Human Rights Commission."