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Online Survey: Human Rights of Persons in Locked Institutions in Uganda.

Kweeta Uganda conducted an online survey on the human rights of persons in locked institutions. A locked institution is one whose entry and exit is restricted, such as prisons, mental health institutions and juvenile detention centres. Uganda has 249 governmental correctional facilities overseen by the Uganda Prison Service, one main referral mental hospital and six juvenile detention centres. The Uganda Prisons Act 2006 mandates the Prison service to ensure that every person retained legally in a prison is kept in humane, safe custody, provided in court when requires until lawfully discharged or removed from prison. Over the years however, Prisons in Uganda have been reported to be overcrowded, unsanitary and the inmates are exposed to hard labour for as long as 7 hours a day. Long detention time and mistreatment by fellow prisoners and wardens have also been reported in these correctional facilities which is in direct violation of inmate’s human rights.

The survey that was administered through Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and WhatsApp generated 108 responses from people in Uganda.

Here is a summary of Results of the survey.

  • 46% of the respondents were aged between 25 – 29.
  • 53% respondents were male.
  • 18% of the respondents had been in a locked institution before while 89% knew personally, someone who had been in a locked institution.
  • More than 95% of the respondents agreed that prisons, juvenile detention centres and mental hospitals were locked institutions. Other locked institutions mentioned were; detention centres, safe houses, army barracks, police cells, houses of security officers and boarding schools.
  • 86% respondents knew someone who had experienced human rights violation in a locked institution while 19% had personally experienced human rights violations in a locked institution.
  • 35% of the respondents believed that basic human rights are not respected in locked institutions in Uganda, while 9.3% believed that human rights are respected.
  • 89% of all the respondents had witnessed/heard of torture by officials (slap, kick, foot whipping, beating, etc.) as a human rights violation. 84% cited poor hygiene and 81% cited congestion. 77% mentioned denial of access to justice and 72% mentioned hard labour. 61% had witnessed or head of sexual abuse by inmates and 60% denial to basic needs.
  • 74% of the respondents got information on human rights of persons in locked institutions from Television and Newspapers, 59% from radio and 68.5% by word of mouth. 60.2% said to get their information on social media and 43.5% were eye witnesses.
  • More than 80% of the respondents agreed that the government/management of these institutions should provide human rights training for officers and access to justice and legal aid for inmates in order to uphold the rights of persons in locked institutions. 82% believe the government/management of these institutions should apprehend all Human Rights abusers within the institutions and 72% believe that the government/management of these institutions should provide access to health and treatment.
  • Respondents also mentioned creation of more space in detention centres and upholding the rule of law to uphold the rights of persons in closed institutions.

 

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