September 27, 2012

NGO calls for rights probe

Dawn Gibson
Thursday, September 27, 2012

THE NGO Coalition on Human Rights is calling for an investigation in light of the alleged brutality used against recent prison escapees.

The coalition is citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), stating that rights of each individual must be respected.

Coaliition chair Shamima Ali said the alleged beatings breached human rights

"The alleged beating of the escapees is a gross violation of human rights. The rights of all people should be recognised regardless of who they are," she said.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to every single person and clearly states that everyone has the right to a fair, independent and public trial (Article 10).

"And that torture, cruelty and degrading treatment or punishment are not allowed (Article 5)."

Ms Ali said although the specifics or extent of the escapees' injuries remain unclear, the threat to their human rights still remains.

"We are concerned about the use of excessive force and brutality because while reports are sketchy it seems these men are unable to appear in court."

The coalition is also questioning the use of what the police have termed "reasonable force".

"We would like to question the involvement of military officers in the apprehending of prison escapees as this is police work and they should have the capacity to do their mandated work with independence and without interference," Ms Ali noted.

She said the fact that there was an ambulance present at the scene could be a possible indicator of intended injury

"We have heard of recent health emergencies where there were no ambulances available and yet in this situation, there was an ambulance ready. This is highly suspicious," she concluded.

The coalition, recognising that the actions of the escapees were indeed "somewhat foolish and they must face the consequences", the law must also hold members of the security forces accountable for their actions associated with the capture of the escapees.

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