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Uganda: AU Human Rights Commissioner Tells Government to Stop Torturing Suspects

(Sept. 2, 2009) It was reported on August 27, 2009, that Catherine Dupe Atoki, Commissioner of the African Union (AU) Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, called on African countries to outlaw torture. (African Union Human Rights Head Calls for Torture Criminalization, EARTHTIMES, Aug. 27, 2009, available at http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/283140,african-union-human-right
s-head-calls-for-torture-criminalization.html
.) Speaking to reporters during her two-day visit in Kampala, Uganda, Atoki noted that torture is rampant in Africa and yet only a few countries have outlawed it so far. (Id.)

Atoki asked the Ugandan government to replace torture with other methods of extracting information from suspects. She stated, “[t]here is no basis for using torture. There are scientific methods of getting information which the Government should invest in.” Finally, she urged the government to join the handful of African countries that have already criminalized torture and pass into law the anti-torture bill, which is in accord with article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. (Steven Candia, Government Warned on Torturing Suspects, THE NEWVISION, Aug. 27, 2009, available at http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/692650; Charter adopted June 27, 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered into force Oct. 21, 1986, text from University of Minnesota Human Rights Library website, available at http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/z1afchar.htm.)