Above: KNCHR Chairperson addressing the public during the IHRD celebrations in Isiolo County (Photo: Courtesy © 2016 KNCHR Communications Department)
Isiolo, Kenya: December 13, 2016: By Dominic Kabiru
As the world celebrates the International Human Rights Day today, the Commission has called on the Government to respect the basic human rights of its people by respecting the spirit of the bill of rights as enshrined in the Kenya Constitution. Making her remarks during the IHRD in Isiolo, KNCHR Chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori said there has been improvement in access to justice following the radical changes that were effected in the Judiciary. She said that any existing challenges need to be addressed immediately since the composition of the judiciary is now complete. She further reiterated that the Commission calls for the necessary regulations and guidelines towards implementation of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission report.
Since 2011, KNCHR in conjunction with Civil Society Organizations has received complaints on extrajudicial killings and forced disappearance. Several such complaints have been documented around the country and this has curtailed the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms.
Several cases have also been reported of Journalists and Civil Society Organizations who were attacked and threatened with death while in the course of their work. The Commission will continue to advocate and call for the enhancement of freedom of information in Kenya as enshrined in Article 35 of the Constitution. Ms Mbogori said that the right and freedom of assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition as enshrined in Article 37 of our Constitution was largely violated during the demonstrations against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. There was loss of lives, damage to property and injuries. KNCHR condemned the use of excessive force by the authorities during the protests and also called on the members of the public to also adhere to their duty to respect the rights of other people as they enjoy their freedom of assembly.
She called on the national and county governments to enhance the citizens’ right to clean water and sanitation, food, education and health. She also emphasized on the rights of women saying that gender based violence and the cultural practices that violate the rights of women are still being reported. She hasted to add that the advocacy for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule under the Constitution is still on going with little progress. Respect, promotion, protection and fulfilment of the rights of children need to be given priority as cases of child abuse in the form of forced early marriages, FGM and child labour still persist. There is also discrimination on intersex children since they are denied registration. Cases of child trafficking have also been reported in Kenya.
KNCHR Chairperson said that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is also part of Kenyan law since Kenya has ratified it. “There are challenges to enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities that persist and this need to be addressed in a more proactive approach” She said.