Thursday 21 February 2019

Concern at garda training for Uganda police


AN international human rights body has expressed concern that gardai are training members of the Ugandan police force -- which it accuses of extra-judicial killings, torture and suppression of peaceful anti-government protests.

With the ban on recruitment, An Garda Siochana has been using its spare training capacity at Templemore, Co Tipperary, to train Ugandan police in what it describes as "human rights-compliant-based" techniques of crowd control or "public-order" policing.

Last week, Human Rights International published a report on units in the Ugandan police, which it accused of major human rights violations, up to and including the killing of prisoners and the widespread use of torture.

The 59-page report on a Ugandan police unit, entitled 'Violence Instead of Vigilance -- Torture and Illegal Detention by Uganda's Rapid Response Unit (RRU)', has been rejected by the Ugandan government, which accused Human Rights Watch of "taking the word of criminals for granted".

However, the report names individuals who have been beaten to death in custody and gives very detailed descriptions of their incarceration, torture and deaths, including post mortem results.

Earlier this month, units of regular police and military police broke up a peaceful protest in the capital, Kampala, reportedly firing live shots. The protest was after presidential elections which were widely reported to have been rigged.

Asked about the human rights allegations against the Ugandan police, the Garda Press Office said: "A number of Ugandan police officers have received training in the Garda College and another group is due to receive training in the near future. We are not in a position to provide numbers.

"The training is delivered as part of the Anglo-Irish Uganda Policing Assistance Programme. This is designed to promote a human-rights-compliant system for public-order management and community policing. An Garda Siochana is involved in the latter aspect.

"The standard and quality of training at the Garda College in Templemore is such that we regularly receive requests from other police services to avail of the opportunity to learn and gain from our experience," the garda spokesman said.

Sunday Independent

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