The head of the Human Rights Network on Tuesday tasked government to quickly prosecute the suspects behind the death of a Rwandan journalist.
Mr Charles Ingabire, who was the editor of Rwanda’s online news wire Inyenyeri, was shot dead on Wednesday last week at Makies 2 Bar in Bukesa –Kikoni, a Kampala suburb. According to police, two suspects, a guard and a waiter from the bar, have been arrested.
“Government failed to protect the life of Charles Ingabire but it should now quickly investigate and bring the culprits to book,” HURINET chief executive
officer Mohammed Ndifuna said.
Mr Ndifuna was speaking to journalists in Kampala at the kick off the week long activities to mark the International Human Rights Day, which will be celebrated on Saturday.
HURINET, in conjunction with the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Uganda, received numerous questions from journalists regarding their safety on the job.
The Acting chairperson of the UHRC, Joseph Etima, advised journalists to always take security precautions while in the field, saying they are always alone there.
“You must take courage and take precaution. Your profession is not a joke as a pen is mightier than a sword,” Mr Etima said.
Mr Ndifuna also called upon the government not to pass portions of the Public Management Order Bill that would restrict its citizens’ constitutional right to freely discuss contentious issues through the social media.
This is one of the bills before Parliament that the human rights defenders are keenly following. Another is the NGO Act, which could make it more difficult for organizations to communicate with people in rural areas.
“People should have more rights, not less. We need to fight against the trend that rights are getting fewer and restrictions are getting greater,” said Birgit Gerstenberg, a representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Uganda.
When asked about whether Uganda’s human rights record had gotten better or worse over the last year, panelists offered a mixed reaction. Mr. Ndifuna described the government’s recent track record as “the good, the bad and the ugly.”
“What is clear is the fluidity of the situation,” Mr. Ndifuna said. “You take three steps forward and are celebrating and then you take one step backward.”
The focus of this year’s Human Rights day is about human rights defenders and the use of the social media to promote human rights.
[Ddungu Musa Evans Human rights news]