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Uganda: Report Says Torture and Human Sacrifice on the Rise

(Oct. 15, 2009) It was reported on October 12, 2009, that the Ugandan Human Rights Commission (UHRC), an independent body established under the 1995 Constitution whose functions, among other things, include investigating possible human rights violations, released its annual report for the year 2008 showing a rise in torture and human sacrifice. (Josephine Maseruka, Torture Tops Rights Abuse, THE NEW VISION, Oct. 12, 2009, available at http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/697679.)

According to the report, torture accounted for one-third of the total complaints that were registered for 2008, surpassing child abuse and neglect, which topped the list in 2007. The report also showed an 83% increase in human sacrifice (most of the victims of which were children), compared to the registered cases for 2006. The UHRC called on the government to fast track the promulgation of the bill on the prohibition and prevention of torture, to implement the Witchcraft Act, to criminalize possession of human tissue and body parts through an amendment to the Penal Code, and to regulate the activities of traditional healers and herbalists. (Id.)