Uganda Harm Reduction Network calls for a quick intervention in the human rights violations against people who use drugs and other psychotropic substances.
This follows the brutal arrest humiliation and detention of 17 drug users including foreign signatories by police on allegations of using drugs in different bars on 5th/01/2019 in Kabalagala Suburbs of Kampala. UHRN works to advocate for practical interventions aimed at supporting and addressing issues of human rights violations among people who use drugs.
We are deeply concerned by the deteriorating circumstances in which punitive enforcement of laws including; inhuman treatment and torture of drug users undermines their public health While there are no express provisions in the constitution protecting drug users` rights, there are basic protections that are enshrined in the constitution and in the laws of Uganda which protect the rights of all persons.
For instance; The right to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment: the constitution in Article 24 requires respect for human dignity and provides that no person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. This provision finds particular application in the context of arrests of drug users
Article 20 (1) of the convention on Psychotropic Substance of 1971 requires all state parties to take all practical measures for the prevention of abuse and psychotropic substances and for the early identification, treatment and education after care rehabilitation and social reintegration of all persons who use drugs.
The Uganda Harm Reduction Network is concerned that the criminalization and increased brutal arrests and degrading treatment of drug users will continue to push people who use drugs into the shadows since the government has positioned drug use as a criminal justice issue rather than a health issue.
We call for: Respect of the rights of people who use drugs; A human rights and public health approach in dealing with drug use; and Adoption of harm reduction interventions for people who use drugs