On 2nd November 2017, Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) held a one day legal strategy meeting to lay foundation on how best to challenge the subsections of Sections 167 (Idle and Disorderly) and 168 (Rogues and Vagabonds) of the Penal Code Act that promote discrimination of minorities.
This stems from a five year study conducted between 2011 to 2015 by Counsel Fridah Mutesi- this report was launched by HRAPF on 29th September 2016 and highlights how these laws are applied in an isolated manner to sideline some members of society.
Ms Mutesi, during this meeting, presented some of these finding of the study;
-According to minor contravention books studied at five police stations, 958 people had been charged under idle and disorderly between 2011 to 2015.
-889 people were arrested in police swoops according to some papers and most of these targeted “objectionable” people in slums.
-The poor and marginalized are exclusively targeted and due process of law is usually not followed during such arrests.
It was also discovered during the study that marginalized groups like sex workers, LGBTI, street children, beggars, hawkers and drug users are usually the main targets of such arrests.
Patricia Kimera from HRAPF also presented a paper case challenging disorderly laws in Uganda; she shared views and concerns that were expressed in the prior consultative meetings to challenge these laws.
Some of the raised or proposed arguments for this case include
-That under Article 43, this is not the conduct that should be prescribed because it is not harmful to anybody.
-Consequences of lack of witnesses, the law is enforced in very intrusive means.
- Article 24 of the constitution, police makes it hard because they assume most of the duties.
HRAPF is a nonprofit and Non-Governmental Organization that works for the promotion, realization, protection and enforcement of human rights through human rights awareness, research, advocacy and legal aid service provision, with a particular focus on minorities.