The UN human rights Uganda country representative Robert Kotchani has commended Commanders of Anti Stock Theft Unit -ASTU for respecting human rights while carrying out disarmament operations in Karamoja.
While officiating at the closure of a one-day Karamoja regional human rights protection meeting held in Moroto last week, Mr Kotchani said Astu personnel constitute one of the forces that have respected human rights and called upon other state agencies such as UPDF and regular police to follow their example.
ASTU is a unit within the police force created to deal with livestock theft.
Currently, they are about 2,000 ASTU personnel deployed to do joint operations with the Uganda People’s Defence Force to end cattle rustling in Karamoja.
“Our human rights records show that from the beginning of January to March this year, they are only 3 cases of human rights abuse by ASTU while on duty in Karamoja but after our joint regional human rights meeting, ASTU commanders have improved and right now from March to June it is only one case of human rights violations which am sure going forward it will reduce to zero cases,” he said.
Micheal Longole, the Karamoja regional police spokesperson says that it is their obligation as disciplined forces to respect human rights.
“When you look at our operations, respect for human rights is number one,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paul Mudong the chairman of the peace committee of Lotiri village in Nadunget sub-county said the current operations by the forces in Karamoja are so friendly compared to the first operation from 2002 to 2007.
“Much as there are some incidents of human rights abuse but it is not like in the first disarmament exercise where people were mistreated like terrorists,” he said.