From 10-14 June 2019, the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) co-organized a scoping mission to Uganda in the framework of the joint global programme on “Supporting the management of violent extremist prisoners and the prevention of radicalization to violence in prisons.” The project is co-funded by the European Union, UNCCT and the Government of the Netherlands.
The aim of this mission was to gather information on the capacity and needs of the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) to effectively address risks of radicalization to violence in prisons.
During the five-day mission, the delegation had several meetings with relevant stakeholders in Uganda, inter alia, the Uganda Prisons Service, the Uganda Police Force, the National Technical Committee on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda. The delegation also met with the European Union, the U.S and the Dutch Embassies, other UN agencies located in the country, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission and civil society organizations. The co-organizers also visited the Luzira Maximum Security Prison where individuals convicted of, or charged with terrorism offences are held.
Discussions during the scoping mission focused on ongoing efforts of Uganda to ensure security and safety in prisons, to conduct individual risk and needs assessment of prisoners, to support their disengagement, rehabilitation and social reintegration with a view to countering radicalization to violence in prisons. Key interlocutors reaffirmed that terrorism and violent extremism poses a threat to peace and security in Uganda, stressed their concern about the growing threat of radicalization to violence in prisons and emphasized that prisons can serve as potential incubators for radicalization to violence and terrorist recruitment.
Information gathered during the mission will support the development of a tailored Country Workplan that will guide the implementation of the project in Uganda. The joint UN project aims at assisting three beneficiary countries in their efforts to respond to the emerging and significant challenge of potential radicalization to violence in prison, in full compliance with international human rights standards, including the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) and from a gender perspective.