, BANJUL, Gambia, Nov 9 – The Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU) now wants the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, to ensure the Kenyan Government does not interfere with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).
IMLU, through its executive director Peter Kiama have expressed their reservations on the proposed amendment to Section 14 of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority Act; in a bid to empower the president to dismiss its chairperson.
Kenya has been highly praised for establishing the civilian oversight authority during the ongoing 57th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s rights, but Kiama warns that the move will water down the gains achieved so far.
“We are destroying it when it has just started to work,” Kiama lamented.
In a continent known for infringing people’s rights, he said Kenya had set a good example by having IPOA in its current form as enshrined in the Constitution.
Similar sentiments were raised by a South African based organisation, the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum.
Though understaffed and lacking resources, Kiama said an independent oversight authority provides the much needed accountability and monitoring functions over the Police Service.
IMLU, together with other 14 Non Governmental Organizations also want the Government to ensure there is a comprehensive way of dealing with cases of torture.
Specifically, they want the Government to fast track the Prevention of Torture Bill 2015.
“We have laws yes, but they do not meet the international threshold on prevention of torture,” Kiama told Capital News on the sidelines of the ordinary session.
They also want the commission to urge the Government, “to take action when cases of violation of human rights occur.”
Kenyan security forces were on the spot for allegedly engaging in massive infringement of people’s rights.
The Government, through its report however said Kenya respects human rights pointing out that the National Police Service Act strongly prohibits torture and ill treatment of individuals.
With the Government engaging in major developmental projects, the organizations also want evictions of affected people to be humane.
“People being evicted should not be rendered homeless or left in poverty,” Kiama said.
In response, the Government said that, “Kenya’s Constitution provides several avenues for the protection and strengthening of indigenous peoples’ personal and collective rights.”
“Indigenous communities’ issues are addressed within the purview of vulnerable and marginalized groups”.
The devolved system of governance in Kenya, the reports noted, has also promoted greater efficiency in service delivery to the people including indigenous groups.