HRW: Justice for beaten journalists in Rwanda

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling for authorities in Uganda to hold security forces accountable after at least 10 journalists were beaten by military soldiers while covering the political activities of opposition leader Bobi Wine.

At least 10 journalists were attacked by security forces in Kampala week with several being admitted to hospital with serious injuries. The reporters were covering a speech delivered by National Unity Platform (NUP) president, Robert Kyagulanyi, who was speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) offices in the capital.

HRW calls for justice over journalist beatings

The day after the assault on the journalists, the army issued an apology for the incident and accounted that a military court had sentenced seven members of the military police to two months detention as a “severe reprimand” – a move that HRW called “an important step”.

However, the rights group is critical of the investigation process carried out internally by the military.

“While an important step, the army did not share details about its investigations or the military trial process. Two of the assaulted journalists told Human Rights Watch they had not even been informed about the proceedings far less called to testify,” HRW said in a statement.

The rights group also cited recent attacks against journalists during the election campaign earlier this year, where beat and shot at reporters covering opposition rallies, and the shooting of journalist Moses Bwayo in the face with a rubber bullet in November 2020 while he was covering one of Kyagulanyi’s rallies.

Human Rights Watch is calling on Ugandan authorities to uphold laws protecting the freedoms of speech and assembly, as well as those prohibiting rights abuses, while building on the measures taken by the military police to deliver justice for the journalists beaten last week.

Featured image: HRW

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.