We are toothless, KNCHR protests

October 29, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, October 29 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) wants the government to act on its reports.

KNCHR Commissioner Samuel Tororei said on Wednesday that failure to implement several reports had made their work irrelevant, and called for legislative and judicial intervention to ensure the reports were enforced.

He urged leaders in top positions to embrace the culture of obedience to law and pointed out that once leaders take the first step, then the society would follow suite by adhering to laid down regulations.

“People bring complaints to our office and in many cases, people against whom complaints are brought actually respond favorably. But in quite a significant few, we see resistance to account and that is not good,” he said.

Mr Tororei called for the strengthening of the legislative and judicial institutions before any action is taken on reports submitted. “We made a report before the last general elections which we called behaving badly. We indicated certain misuse of public resources for political campaigns and we did not hear anyone in government say that they were going to take action,” Mr Tororei stated.

He said that some of the problems which occurred later on would have been avoided had people not seen politicians blatantly misusing public resources.

“That to us is indicative of lack of political will,” he summed up.

The human rights commissioner said that the presence of political goodwill would enable the KNCHR to realize positive results in its efforts to protect human rights.

He further said that the rights watchdog was working to improve capacity to detect abuse of human rights before they occur.

“We want to develop greater capacity especially develop greater capacity for early warning of potential abuses so we need to be pro-active rather than reactive,” suggested Mr Tororei, who also outlined the efforts by the Human Rights watch to also enhance its relationship with other institutions.

“Most of the time we have been reactive so we want to improve on that. We also want to find mechanisms for working better with institutions.”

He emphasised the commission’s efforts towards using more effective ways of communicating the human rights message to the common Kenyan.

“In economics we would say that we want to increase or improve the demand side for human rights so that the ordinary Kenyan can start demanding for his rights,” Mr Tororei said.

Other areas of redress that Mr. Tororei brought to the fore include the enhancement of its management capacity, response capacity and our ability to offer redress.


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