, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – With a month to go before the world marks the Human Rights Day, the United Nations on Wednesday commended Kenya saying it had made good progress in guarding and promoting human rights.
UN Resident Senior Human Rights Adviser Olatokunbo IGE said Kenya had made a big step with the passage of a new Constitution which emphasised the Bill of Rights by seeking to strengthen human rights values, democracy, equality, freedom and social justice.
“With the promulgation of the new Constitution, Kenyan law now enshrines several human rights standards that are recognised world over. In its preamble it recognises the aspirations of Kenyans for a government based on essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law,” she said.
According to her, it shows Kenya’s commitment to ensure human rights are the foundation of recognising and protecting Kenyans’ rights.
She said the Constitution further fought to protect each person from discrimination based on their sex, race, and ethnicity among other religions.
Although Kenya has been on the spot over extra judicial killings, the 2007/2008 post election violence and many other violations of human rights, Ms IGE said it had made commendable efforts and there was evidence of commitment to fight social injustices and abuse of people’s rights in the country.
However, she noted that Kenya like many other African countries was not adequately providing basic rights to her people. She said many people still could not access adequate food, housing and health among other necessities.
“Many of our countries are yet to begin to work on the area of economic social cultural rights; these are the rights that many people felt were gifts, some people call them basic but they are fundamental human rights,” she said.
The Human Rights Day is marked every 10th of December. This year, the focus will be on human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.
Ms IGE said although human rights defenders have done a lot to speak out against abuse and violations of human rights, most of them have not been recognised.
She said the day will also focus on asking governments to play their role in enabling and protecting the work of human rights defenders.
The United Nations and like-minded stakeholders will also be targeting to inspire and encourage new defenders and urge them to get involved in guarding and promoting human rights.