, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Security operations to curb cattle rustling in the North Rift should not be a one-off affair, the Kenya National Commission on Humans Rights (KNCHR) has said.
In a statement, the commission says the government should sustain such operations until normalcy is restored as opposed to reacting to specific incidents.
Recent clashes pitting the Pokot and Marakwet communities have led to displacement of thousands of people and closure of schools, shopping centres, and hospitals.
“The government must put in place mechanisms to address the underlying causes of the insecurity, conduct thorough investigations into all criminal activities including the killing of the two politicians at Marigat and other members of the public who have lost their lives and property, been injured or displaced; ensure sustainable peace in the region and promote peaceful coexistence amongst the Pokot, Tugen and Ilchamus communities within Baringo County,” the commission stated.
The commission is now urging the government to ensure that the security operation launched there last week is conducted within the confines of human rights following complaints from locals.
“That the security personnel on the ground be held accountable concerning efforts aimed at restoring law and order in the area,” KNCHR asserted.
In carrying out their operations, the officers must be guided by utmost respect for human rights and must exercise caution to avoid violating human rights of the citizens, especially women, children and persons with disability.
This collective punishment practice negates the spirit and letter of the Constitution, which protects the right to life and security of the person as articulated in Articles 26 and 29 of the Constitution.”
The Commission has also called on the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security the Asman Kamama to step aside and allow for investigations into his alleged role in the spiralling conflict in Baringo County.
Over 40 schools have been affected by the crisis with over 8,000 students and pupils unable to attend school.
“We note that despite the recent progressive efforts by the Ministry of Education in standardizing the quality of education in Kenya, the gains achieved are yet to be enjoyed by students in these conflict-prone and marginalized areas. Already over 8,000 pupils and students both in primary and secondary schools are not enjoying the right to education following the closure of schools in the recent spate of attacks,” KNHCR lamented.
According to KNCHR, the massive displacement of persons has created a humanitarian crisis.
Families are in dire need of food, shelter, and even more urgent health services as they have been removed from facilities accessible to them as they move to safer ground, reads the statement.