COVID-19: Interventions by the Uganda Human Rights Commission & JLOSCOVID-19
- Court hearings and appearances suspended for a period of 32 days with effect from 20th March 2020
- During this 32 day period, prisoners and remandees not to be presented in court
- All execution proceedings suspended
- Courts to continue handling certificates of urgency and taking plea for serious cases and bail applications
5. All conferences, workshops, meetings and training Programmes suspended
6. Travel abroad for all Judicial staff suspended
7. MoH COVID-19 preventive guidelines in full force and operationalized on all service points
DOWNLOAD a circular issued by the Chief Justice on Covid-19 administrative measures. CONTACT the Judiciary using the information below:
Courts of Judicature
High Court Building
Plot 2, The Square
P. O. Box 7085, Kampala Uganda
Tel Line: +256 – (0) 414-344 116
Toll Free Lines : 0- 800 -111 900 / +256 – (0) 417- 892 900
Fax : +256 – (0) 414-344 110
Email : info [at] judicature.go.ug
OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
# ODPP Administrative Guidelines
In reference to the Presidential directives on the prevention and management of COVID-19, the ODPP on 20th March 2020 issued the following administrative measures to all staff in departments, divisions and all regional offices:
1) Serious cases and those that pose a threat to public order and harmony to be registered in court for plea taking
2) Bail applications to be handled whenever the courts are sitting
3) Staff at the courts with video link to continue to operate of court decides to proceed
4) Regional ODPP officers to review committed files and prepare committal papers
5) Complainants allowed to only file written complaints at the registries and will follow up either on phone or after a period of 32 days
6) Registry staff to display phone numbers of the complaint desk officers as well as heads of stations
7) Scheduled national and international conferences and workshops postponed until further notice
8) No approval of foreign travels and those already approved rescinded until further notice
9) Sanitizers and other preventive measures put in place at ODPP service points in accordance to MOH COVID-19 protocols and guidelines
Prosecutors directed to advise Police as follows:
1) Process suspects for court in capital cases, serious or other offenses that are likely to disrupt social harmony and public order
2) Immediately produce suspects in court for plea and in any case not later than 48 hours
3) Process suspects in minor cases within 48 hours
#ODPP Operating Procedures Circular
The Ag. Director of Public Prosecutions Mr. Alfred Elem-Ogwal has today issued a circular to all ODPP staff, JLOS institutions, the general public and other stakeholders detailing operating procedures for the ODPP following the Presidential directives extending the COVID-19 lockdown for 21 days to 5th May 2020.
DOWNLOAD ODPP OPERATING PROCEDURES (Issued: 16th April 2020)
This circular follows the administrative guidelines issued on 20th March 2020 by Mr. Ogwal to all ODPP staff in the country.
DOWNLOAD ODPP ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDELINES (issued: 20th March 2020)
For any inquiries, the ODPP has provided the following contact information:
Mr. Vincent Wagona
Deputy DPP/Management and Support Services
Ms. Jacquelyn Okui
Public Relations Officer
Ms. Barbara Masinde
PA to the Ag. DPP
UGANDA REGISTRATION SERVICES BUREAU
Initiated electronic transaction of key services as a COVID-19 response measure to reduce client-staff contact. The following services can be transacted online via URSB platforms accessible on www.ursb.go.ug : applications related to business registration, intellectual property, civil registration and insolvency
The following services have been scaled down by URSB: civil weddings (reduced to 4 per day and only people allowed on site); procedure for submission of business registration documents amended with online/electronic notification adopted for clients on all actioned cases.
Toll free line: 0800 100 006
Social media: URSBHQ (Facebook and Twitter)
DOWNLOAD a public notice issued by the Registrar General on URSB Covid-19 measures.
MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
All services involving client-staff contact suspended for 30 days effective 24th March 2020. Affected service points are: passport and immigration services, registration services for identification of persons, NGO regulation, management of community service orders and provision of forensic and testing services (DGAL).
Specifically for DCIC – all boarders have been closed in line with directive by H.E the president.
For inquiries and further information regarding services at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, members of the general public can contact the specific institutions through the contacts listed below:
Toll Free Numbers 0800 211 700
USSD Code *216#
Toll Free Numbers 0800 199 003/4
Tel: 0414 595 945/ 0752 451 811
Tel: 0393 241 233
Tel: 0800 100 450/0772 409 158
0414 250 464(Gen)/0414 250 474
READ STATEMENT by the Minister of Internal Affairs on Covid-19 measures.
NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION AND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY
The following services have been suspended by NIRA:
- Application, issuance and replacement of National IDs country wide;
- Change of particulars and rectification of information on National IDs;
- Checking status of applications;
- Issuance of letters of confirmation of information;
- Applications and issuance of birth and death certificates; and
- Issuance of Adoption Order Certificates.
However, NIRA shall continue processing applications already submitted including for national IDs and birth and death certificates. NIRA will also continue with the production of national IDs and dispatch these to its various offices countrywide.
Call 0800211700 toll free during working hours. Dial *216# and follow the prompts to check NINs and status of applications
DOWNLOAD public notice from NIRA regarding Covid-19 measures.
UGANDA PRISONS SERVICE
In an Administrative instruction issued to all Prison departments on 25th March 2020, the Commissioner General Uganda Prisons Service issued the following guidelines:
- Institute Regional COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Task Forces chaired by RPCs comprising of DPCs, OCs, Regional Health Coordinators and Regional Rehabilitation and Re-integration officer
- Establish a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Task Force at every station chaired by the OC and composed of representatives of Health and welfare, In-charge Boma, Court Clerk, Receptionist, Station Orderly, In-charge Barracks
- Ensure availability and use of soap and water for frequent hand washing at all entry points including in the barracks
- Suspend all prison visitations and restrict movement of prisoners as well as staff and their relatives outside the barracks
- All prison admissions must be isolated on arrival at the prison until COVID-19 symptom screening has been conducted within 24 hours on arrival at the prison
- Establish a quarantine space for isolation of cases, which meet the case definition for COVID – 19 and report immediately to the District Task Force and to CGP.
- All RPCs, DPCs and OCs must be members of a District Task Force.
CONTACT Uganda Prisons Service.
READ CIRCULAR issued by the Uganda Prisons Commissioner General in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
UGANDA POLICE FORCE
The UPF is at the forefront of the COVID 19 response operation by GoU specifically through law enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines and public sensitization.
# UPF Covid-19 Sensitization Drive
The Department of Community Policing headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police Anatoli Muleterwa is continuing its efforts to sensitive police officers and members of the public against the Covid-19 pandemic. On 30th March 2020, the team met the personnel from Fire Prevention and Rescue Services and their spouses.The officers and their spouses were offered key prevention tools against the pandemic. The team also met with the business community of Nakasero Market.
As we enter day 6, of the 14-day dusk to dawn curfew and wider partial lockdown, we would like to start by wishing all Christians in Uganda a happy Palm Sunday.
And further inform the public that as we continue to monitor the behavior of the population we have noticed that there are still a few people taking risks by; failing to stay at home, violating the ban on public gatherings of not more than 5 people, defying the ban on passenger travel especially on bodabodas and use of private vehicles, illegally holding prayers and violating the dusk to dawn curfew (where pedestrians walk past 7pm; all persons jogging along the public roads and highways in groups , especially along the Northern bypass, Muyenga , Munyonyo, Kyanja, Kiwatule, Kisasi, Ntinda and others from Kireka, Seeta, Kirinya, Bweyogerere, and Kiira and Kyaliwajjala, who gather at Namboole parking areas, and shops in suburbs continue operating past 7pm). We would like to issue a serious warning to these rule breakers, that we won’t hesitate taking tougher action against them.
UGANDA LAW SOCIETY
To ensure business continuity during this COVID-19 lockdown, the Uganda Law Society has partnered with the Judiciary to use Zoom Video Conferencing in adjudication of matters.
This will be done in line with the Judicature (Visual -Audio Link) Rules, 2016 (SI 26 of 2016) and the Constitution (Integration of ICT into the Adjudication Processes For Courts of Judicature) (Practice) Directions, 2019.
To make this process work, all practicing advocates in Uganda are required to send their contact details to the Judiciary ICT department to enable direct invitation of advocates and their clients to hearing activities like: Rendering of judgments and urgent hearings.
CONTACT (ULS Head Office):
Plot 610, Buye, Ntinda along Wamala Road off Ntinda-Kisaasi road
P.O. Box 426 Kampala
CLICK HERE for ULS regional contact information
UGANDA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has come with several interventions related to the observance of human rights.
These interventions include the following:
Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) acting chairperson Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti held a press conference on 25th March 2020 and engaged the media on issues of human rights observance during the COVID-19 response. Dr. Amooti said preventive measures by Government are consistent with the provisions of articles 23 and 43 of the country’s Constitution. He however urged security agents to respect human rights in the enforcement of the guidelines on preventive measures in line with article 221 of the Constitution. READ PRESS CONFERENCE REPORT
UHRC Central Regional Office is airing spot messages as a campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic with a human rights perspective .The messages are running on Capital FM, CBS(Kampala) ; Sun FM ( Mityana); Buwama FM (Moigi) and Tropical FM ( Mubende).
UHRC has also issued COVID-19 guidelines to its staff across all its central and regional offices during the lockdown
UHRC further issued a press statement on 25th March 2020 on human rights concerns in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. READ STATEMENT HERE
Radio talk shows on the COVID 19 and the human rights perspective have been held and others are still lined up on the following stations: Radio One, Dembe FM, Bukedde FM, Namirembe FM and Sun FM (Mityana)
UHRC on Tuesday, 14 April 2020 participated in a Webinar titled: “Should Uganda declare a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19?”. The webinar was hosted by Bernard Oundo with the following panelists: Prof. Fredrick E. Ssempebwa, Founding and Senior Partner, Katende, Ssempebwa Advocates; Dr. Patricia Achan-Okiria, Commissioner Uganda Human Rights Commission; and Mr. Godber Tumushabe, Associate Director, Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies.
UHRC Fort Portal regional office has developed a COVID-19 message/ poster and shared it on whatsapp groups, radios and on the UHRC online platforms
There are currently radio spot messages on Elgon radio in Kapchorwa that are being translated into kupsabiny by the Soroti regional office. The spot messages are in respect of limitations in enjoyment of human rights in respect of public interest with specific reference to public health and in particular COVID-19. The notices call upon the public to carry out their responsibilities by abiding by the Government directives in restrictions and other procedures. Urge them to respect rights of people suspected to be infected with COVID-19 and not to discriminate against them or subject them to mob action. The messages further call upon the law enforcement officers to respect human rights in performance of their duties.
Discussions have been held with Etop Radio to conduct an on line radio talk show in respect of limitation of rights and responsibilities of citizen in respect of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission received complaints during the lock down period through its toll free lines, social media platforms and emails. The complaints so far received relate to the following issues:
1. Complaints against the extension of the quarantine period for those who had been under institutional quarantine by Government
2. Complaints of alleged brutality by law enforcement and security officials whilst enforcing the Presidential directives of lock down and curfew
3. Complaints of alleged lack of access to food during the lock down period
4. Complaints of alleged lack of access to medical care during the lock down period
5. Complaints of violence in homes and heightened family wrangles during the lock down period.
6. Complaints of employees who were stuck at their work places in remote areas as a result of the Presidential directives and could not go back to their homes.
Some of the complaints were referred to the National Task Force on COVID-19 for appropriate management
In addition, the Commission has been making interventions with regard to arrests and detentions around the country, and has on various cases intervened to ensure that suspects on petty offenses are released on police bond in a timely manner, to avoid over crowding in cells.
CLICK HERE to contact UHRC for inquiries, comments or complaints
TOLL FREE UHRC REGIONAL CONTACTS
UHRC HEAD OFFICE 0800100766
UHRC JINJA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144201
UHRC FORTPORTAL REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144200
UHRC MBARARA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144202
UHRC MASAKA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144203
UHRC CENTRAL REGIONAL OFFICE 0800122444
UHRC GULU REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144166
UHRC HOIMA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144204
UHRC SOROTI REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144206
UHRC ARUA REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144207
UHRC LIRA FIELD OFFICE 0800144208
UHRC MOROTO REGIONAL OFFICE 0800144212
UHRC KITGUM FIELD OFFICE 0800144214
DOWNLOAD (PDF) – UHRC toll free contact information
LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
In compliance with the directives issued by His Excellency the President in his address to the nation on Wednesday 18th March 2020 to protect and safeguard the against the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, the Management Committee of LDC issued directives to students and staff.
DOWNLOAD (LDC Public Notice on COVID-19)