Kenya’s human rights record questioned at Africa meeting

November 8, 2015 10:55 am
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Among the issues raised and set to be addressed by the Government during the session includes the civil space, transitional justice, corruption, public participation and freedom of expression and access to Information/FILE
Among the issues raised and set to be addressed by the Government during the session includes the civil space, transitional justice, corruption, public participation and freedom of expression and access to Information/FILE
BANJUL, Gambia, Nov 8 – It’s no doubt that Kenya has made major strides towards a democratic state that respect people’s right, but the country’s record on human rights is on spot in the ongoing 57th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Right in Gambia.

The country’s ugly side was exposed by a strong delegation of 14 Non-Governmental Organisations which made a 14 -point presentation which indicts the Government of failing to uphold the 2010 Constitution, more so in upholding the human rights.

The organisations include the Independent Medico Legal Unit, Article 19 East Africa, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Refugee Consortium of Kenya among others.

Among the issues raised and set to be addressed by the Government during the session includes the civil space, transitional justice, corruption, public participation and freedom of expression and access to Information.

It also includes issues of the Internally Displaced People, refugee’s rights, gender equality, statelessness among others.

The organisations pointed out that the criminal justice sector – pretrial detention, prison reform, police reforms, lack of legal aid leading to abuse of power resulting in human rights violations.

The police vetting for example “has not brought about accountability on human rights violations.’’

Among the accusations raised against the National Police Service, and will be addressed by the Kenya Police spokesman Charles Owino on Sunday includes human rights violations, extra judicial killings, arbitrary and summary killings.

“Are there any legal frameworks in place on anti-torture?” queried IMLU executive director Peter Kiama whose organisation recently released a damning report on police.

Between 2009-2014 IMLU documented 1,030 cases of torture and extra judicial killings.

136 were cases of shooting, 232 cases of fatal shooting, 9 cases of burning, 20 cases of sexual violation, 32 cases of physiological torture and 524 cases of beatings among others.

“The state should fast track the passing of the prevention of Torture bill 2014 to ensure protection of all victims of torture and effective prevention and response to torture and ill-treatment in conformity with the holistic perspective envisaged in the Robben Island guidelines,” the organisation recommended.

By formation of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, Kenya made great strides towards achieving a people’s centred police service.

The African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum however said Kenyans may not after all experience a reformed police service if the independence of IPOA is compromised.

“We are equally concerned by efforts to roll back some of the gains made. The provisions establishing the Board of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority in Kenya is in the best practice,” APCOG executive director Sean Tait said.

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