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Uganda - Universal Periodic Review - Death Penalty - July 2021

Date: July 15, 2021
Country: Uganda
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Death Penalty
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
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The Advocates for Human Rightstogether with Foundation for Human rights Initiative and The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty submitted a stakeholder report relating to the death penalty in Uganda for the40th session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review. 

In Uganda, the death penalty remains available for 28 offenses, the highest number of capital offences in East Africa. Ugandan law does not limit the death penalty to the most serious crimes and announced plans in 2019 for a bill that would impose the death penalty for same-sex relations between adultsSince the2009Kigula case, however, the death penalty is no longer mandatory for capital offenses and courts have significantly reduced the number of death sentences. As of 2018, there were 145 people on death row. Conditions of detention centers and prisons are harsh, with common issues including overcrowding, forced labor, physical abuse of detainees, and inadequate resources. There have been frequent allegations of torture committed by security agencies, particularly in cases of lengthy pre-trial detentions. Civil society organizations and opposition activists report that security forces arrested, beat, and killed civilians as punishment for allegedly violating regulations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Security forces also continue to arbitrarily arrest and detain opposition leaders, politicians, activists and LGBTIQ+ personsImpunity for such abuses remains ongoing and widespread in the police and military forces.  

The authors of the report suggest the following recommendations for Uganda: 

  • Abolish the death penalty and replace it with a sentence that is fair, proportionate, and in compliance with international human rights standards. 

  • Improve legal assistance for individuals charged with capital offences and people who are sentenced to death. Strengthen the state brief system through adequate funding and appropriate, mandatory training, in collaboration with civil society organizations. Improve the training of military defense attorneys. 

  • Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. 

  • Improve prison detention conditions, consistent with the Nelson Mandela Rules, particularly with respect to overcrowding and provision of food. 

  • Increase accountability for human rights violations committed by security forces by fully investigating violations and holding perpetrators to account.