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: Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE CALLING ON INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY OF OFFICERS INVOLVED IN EXTRA-JUDICIAL EXECUTIONS

7TH NOVEMBER 2018

TO ALL NEWS EDITORS PRESS RELEASE

CALL FOR INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY OF OFFICERS FOUND CULPABLE OF VIOLATING THE SIXTH SCHEDULE OF THE NPS ACT 2011

  1. We the Police Reforms Working Group-Kenya (PRWG-K), the Social Justice Centre Working Group (SJCWG) and human rights defenders pass our deepest condolences to police officers and civilians who have been victims of acts of crime in the recent past, and wish the surviving ones quick recovery.
  2. We are well aware that Kenyans are increasingly experiencing violent crime. We therefore cannot under any circumstances underestimate the trauma that our society is living through, due to the increase in cases of violent crime, and the apparent inability of the National Police Service to reduce these incidences and, or successfully prosecute these cases.
  3. We stand with Kenyans, especially victims of violent crime who are extremely frustrated by the increased number of suspects who continue to roam freely intimidating and threatening victims and witnesses, eliminating witnesses, and in some cases committing new crimes, mainly due to botched investigations and police corruption.
  4. However the Police Reforms Working Group- Kenya (PRWG-K) wishes to express grave concern over increasing incidences of deaths from police use of lethal force in the country. Over the past one month, incidences of torture and extrajudicial executions implicating police officers are on an all- time high. This is especially regrettable at a time when the country is embracing the new police reforms initiatives to transform our police force to a civilian-centered police service.
  1. In particular, the PRWG-K strongly condemns the alleged summary executions of 24 young men in Mathare, Majengo, Kayole and Dandora in the last 3 weeks, by officers believed to be attached to the Huruma and Dandora Police Stations.
  2. A case in point is the shooting of a twenty year old man who was walking home in Mathare North Area, after arriving from his place of work on Friday, October 26th, 2018. Incidentally, there had been a robbery at a supermarket in the area (Family Choice). In the process of police pursuing the “suspected thugs”, he was shot in the thigh. A Good Samaritan rushed him to Mathare North Health Centre. He then called his wife but her phone was off forcing him to call a neighbor. The neighbor then informed the deceased’s wife and they rushed him to the health Centre where they found him. They were advised to take him to Mama Lucy Hospital prompting the neighbor to make a call to arrange for transport. Immediately after the call, a group of over 10 officers allegedly arrived brandishing guns and asking where the ‘thug’ was and that he had their “property”. They picked him from where he was lying and bundled him into the boot of a white probox car. They then drove off with the deceased not informing the wife and neighbor where they were heading. The next day, the deceased’s employer led a search party from one police station to the other, health facilities and morgues. It was then at City Mortuary that they found his corpse with seven gunshot wounds.
  3. The actions of the police officer on the night of 28th and 29th October 2018 point to a clear contravention of Article 26, every person has the right to life. A person shall not be deprived of life intentionally, except to the extent authorized by the Constitution or other written law. Further, the National Police Service Act 2011 Schedule 6 (B) provides that ‘Firearms may only be used when less extreme measures are inadequate, and for the following purposes: a) saving or protecting the life of the officer or other persons; and b) self-defense or in defense of other person against imminent threat of life or serious injury.

We are greatly dismayed by the impunity displayed by the police officer in this incident and many more, and call for the following action:

1. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) expedite investigations into the apparent summary execution of the 20 young men and forward the report to the director of public prosecution’s office for prosecution

of the officers found culpable.

  1. We appeal to all eye witnesses and anybody else with evidence on this killing to come forward and present their information to the IPOA;
  2. The National Police Service Commission should institute disciplinary actions against the police officer;
  3. The need to speedily implement in full the National Coroners Service Act 2017 to provide for independent forensic investigations of questionable deaths;
  4. We call for the formation of a judicial inquiry into cases of extrajudicial killings in the country;
  5. We urge the government to allow the request by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to visit the country to assess the situation of extra judicial killings and make appropriate recommendations;
  6. We commend all police officers who have embraced the ongoing reforms and urge those officers with information on these killings to liaise with IPOA to ensure thatthat we rid the force of those not willing to change;
  7. Lastly, we continue to firmly believe that failure to hold the officers individually responsible and accountable will only continue to undermine the ongoing reforms under the central command of the Inspector General, and entrench a culture of impunity within the National Police Service.

Finally we urge the IG, IPOA, the IAU and the NPSC to enhance mechanisms of bringing to end indiscriminate executions of people without due process of the law. It is our considered view that the police cannot be investigators, prosecutors, judges and executioners at the same time.

Signed:

National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya (NCHRD-K)

Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)

International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ-K)

International Commission of Jurists –Kenya (ICJ-K)

Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
International Justice Mission (IJM)
Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU)

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR)
Rights Promotion and Protection Centre (RPP)
Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-K)
Coalition on Violence against Women (COVAW)
Kenyans for Peace, Truth and Justice (KPTJ)

Usalama Reforms
Amnesty International – Kenya
Transparency International Kenya
Katiba Institute (KI)
Social Justice Centre Working Group (SJCWG)

 

Statement on the Operating Environment of Human Rights Defenders in Kenya- ACHPR 63 Ordinary session

63rd Ordinary Session of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Banjul, Gambia

 

Public Session; Human Rights Situation in Africa

25th October 2018

Statement by NATIONAL COALITION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS-KENYA (NCHRD-K)

Madame Chairperson, distinguished Commissioners, State Delegates, representatives of NHRIs and NGOs.

 

On behalf of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders -Kenya (NCHRD-K), I would like to thank the Commission for this opportunity to raise some of the key human rights concerns from Kenya.

We are particularly concerned that the legitimate role of protection and promotion of human rights carried on by human rights defenders and Civil Society Organizations is criminalized and target for reprisal by both state and non-state actors. Below are a few incidences of violation of human rights fundamental freedoms of human rights defenders in Kenya:

Freedom of Association: Kenyan police have continued to harass and threaten HRDs that  demand justice for victims and advocate for accountability for serious injuries, death and destruction of property by security agents following unrest that took  place post 2017 general elections. Most of the incidents reported by HRDs include threats of arrest, warnings against posting information about police brutality, home and office raids, and confiscation of laptops and other items. The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders documented up to 15 cases where activists suffered these intimidation tactics.[1]The protection of HRDs should be adhered to as prescribed by law.

Freedom of Expression: On 29 May 2018, The High Court in Nairobi temporarily suspended 26 sections of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill, which was signed into law by the President on 16 May 2018, after an appeal by the Bloggers Association of Kenya, among others.[2] While the objective of the law was to address issues including cybercrime, cyber bullying, phishing, and fake news, the law contains provisions which threaten the freedom of expression, right to privacy, the right to a fair trial. On 3 July, the suspension of the 26 provisions was extended when the Court will hear an application by the Attorney General to have the suspension lifted on the basis that it was erroneously issued.

On 31 July, during a parliamentary session, two journalists with the privately-owned People Daily newspaper were threatened with being barred from covering future parliamentary proceedings and summoned to a legislative committee. The summons was allegedly in connection to stories published on 30-31 July accusing MPs of taking and soliciting bribes from organizations and individuals they were meant to be investigating.[3] Such threats and intimidation tactics affect on the freedom of journalists to carry out their legitimate work.

Freedom of Information: In October 2018, the Kenya government introduced a 15% excise duty tax on internet services through a new Finance bill, effected on 15th October. The Bill restricts Kenyans’ access to internet services which plays a major role in promoting access to information.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly: Police arrested two environmental activists on 25 May 2018 during a protest against plans to set up a coal-fired power plant at Kwasasi, Lamu County. The group had sought permission to peacefully assemble and demonstrate but their request was rejected by police who deemed the protest “unlawful.”[4]

The fact that the individuals were arrested while peacefully protesting raises concerns regarding the Kenyan government’s respect for the constitution, Article 11 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights and international law standards that safeguards the right to peacefully assemble.

In light of these updates and observations, we urge the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:

  • Call on the Kenyan Government to provide a conducive legal environment that will ensure that Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) carry out their work without fear of reprisal.
  • Call on the Kenyan government to cease the harassment of journalists who work towards providing information including on the status of human rights in Kenya
  • Call on the government to remove exercise duty tax being charged on internet tariffs to ensure that Kenyans from all walks of life can access the Internet.
  • Urge Kenya to Develop a policy/law for the protection of Human rights Defenders
  • Urge Kenya to revise sections of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill that seeks to limit freedom of expression and privacy.

I thank You

 

[1] https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/04/kenya-police-threaten-activists-reporting-abuse

[2] http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Court-suspends-portions-of-Kenya-cybercrime-law/4552908-4586250-1kaa55/index.html

[3] https://cpj.org/2018/08/kenyan-parliamentarians-harass-journalists-followi.php

[4] https://www.nation.co.ke/counties/lamu/Police-arrest-2-anti-Lamu-coal-plant-protester/3444912-4579706-ymfm8l/index.html

Nobel Peace Prize for Human Rights Defenders

Over 200 organisations from all over the world have signed on to this open letter endorsing the Nobel Peace Prize for the global community of Human Rights Defenders. The release of the open letter is accompanied by a public petition: Human Rights Defenders for the Nobel Peace Prize, which can be signed here.

Open Civil Society Letter to support the Nobel Peace Prize for Human Rights Defenders 4

Uganda: Press Statement condemning the continuous attacks towards Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) within the media fraternity.

Press Statement By NCHRD-U

NOMINATION CALL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AWARDS 2018

INTRODUCTION

Civic space in Kenya continues to be under pressure as a range of actions are being directed against the work of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) and Civil Society organizations in Kenya. Physical attacks, criminal and administrative actions, legislative restrictions, negative rhetoric and limitation of human rights have undermined the Constitutional and international protections available to HRDs.

It is against this backdrop that the Working Group on Human Rights Defenders in Kenya, which brings together CSOs and development partners concerned with the protection of HRDs, is organizing the third edition of the HRD Awards on the 30th of November 2018. The aim of the ceremony is to honour and publicly recognize the important work of HRDs in Kenya, by giving out awards to men and women who have demonstrated courage and impact in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The awards are presented in three categories: the Munir Mazrui Lifetime achievement award, the Human Rights Defender of the year award and the upcoming Human Rights Defender of the year award.

THE OBJECTIVES

The objectives of these awards are to:

  1. Honour the extraordinary work of HRDs in the promotion and protection of human rights;
  2. Profile the work of HRDs and challenges they face as agents of social change and transformation;
  3. Recognise and appreciate the human rights work of young and upcoming HRDs in Kenya and support talent;
  4. Enhance the safety and protection of all HRDs in Kenya.

SELECTION PROCESS

  • Nomination:

The Working Group on Human Rights Defenders in Kenya develops a call for nominations which is then widely circulated by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya (NCHRD-K) and other partners. This call outlines the criteria for eligibility for nomination.

  • Shortlisting:

A panel then shortlists five individuals per category within the set out guidelines for shortlisting candidates.

  • Verification:

The panel verifies the HRDs human rights work through field visits, and interviews with the nominators, the nominees and their references.

  • Selection:

The Independent Selection Panel, which comprises of eminent individuals in the human rights sector, will decide who will receive the awards based on the profiles of the nominated HRDs.

  • Award ceremony:

Will be held on the 30th November 2018 in the presence of CSOs, the government, selected HRDs, representatives from the international missions, and the media who will cover the event.

SELECTION CRITERIA

The following will be taken into consideration:

  • Grassroots based HRD
  • Demonstrable impact of the HRDs human rights work in the community
  • The role of the HRD in promoting human rights
  • ‘Civil courage’ of the HRD in his/her human rights work
  • Demonstrated leadership, innovation and creativity in his/her human rights work
  • Contribution to the development of a human rights based approach within his/her county in regards to the thematic area of focus
  • Future goals and likely impact
  • Degree of difficulty of the achievement and sacrifices made
  • Visibility derived from award to enhance the capacity of the HRD to promote human rights and active citizenship
  • The HRD should have a link to the community and his/her work should have built or should be working towards building a movement.
  • The HRD should be a seasoned or upcoming HRD.

AWARD

  • Three awards will be presented to the overall winners : the Munir Mazrui lifetime achievement award, the HRD of the year award and the upcoming HRD award.

The winners will receive:

  • A cash award of $ 1,000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • And will be guests at the 2019 HRD award ceremony

All nomination forms should be sent back to the NCHRD-K via advocacy@hrdcoalition.org with a clear subject line “HRD AWARD NOMINATION” by 20th July 2018, 12.00 pm.

Get the application form here:NOMINATION FORM FOR THE HRD AWARDS 2018

PRESS STATEMENT CONDEMNING THE KILLING OF EVANS NJOROGE

Presser-Evans

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