The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) joins the rest of the World today in celebrating the 2019 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This day is celebrated to acknowledge and honor victims of torture. It marks an important day to bring to the fore grave human rights violations that are attributed to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
The KNCHR commends the Government for the enactment of two critical legislations; Prevention of Torture Act, 2017, which the KNCHR is mandated to implement, and the National Coroners Service Act, 2017, towards prohibition of torture in Kenya. We further take note of the absolute prohibition of torture in other legislations such as; the National Police Service Act, 2011 (section 95), the Kenya Defence Forces Act, 2012 (section 133A) and the National Intelligence Service Act, 2012 (section 51).
The KNCHR takes cognizance on the role of the Judiciary for the progressive jurisprudence in addressing violations of torture, including those involving law enforcement agencies, through the award of claims to the victims.
Despite the progress made especially on the legislative front, the KNCHR would like to report that various allegations of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment have been brought to its attention during the course of delivering on its mandate. The KNCHR would like to point allegations of torture being meted in various places of detention. The KNCHR wishes to highlight two (2) recent cases of allegation of torture in Naivasha Maximum Security Prison and Eldoret GK Prison. Further the Commission brings to the fore other allegations of torture being perpetrated by those charged with wildlife preservation especially within the National Parks and the various conservancies in different parts of the Country in the course of performing their duties.
As we commemorate the 2019 International Day in Support of Victims of Torture the KNCHR calls on Kenyans to remember torture cases documented during the 2017 General Election period which led to loss of life as well as life-long injuries that are still to-date being experienced by the victims.
The KNCHR would like to remind the State of its cardinal duty and commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights and the absolute prohibition of torture as enshrined in the greatest law of the land, the Constitution of Kenya 2010 in Article 29. The Commission calls for the full implementation of the Prevention of Torture Act, 2017 that will lead to the full realization of the benefits that accrue from this Act.
The KNCHR would like to make the following recommendations to the Government to aid in the absolute prohibition of torture in our Country;
The KNCHR remains committed to its human rights agenda for the Country and stands together with the families, survivors and victims of torture and commits to undertake all within its powers to ensure justice for all the affected in one way or the other.
Dr. Bernard Mogesa, PhD, CPM
Commission Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Photo: Coutersy: OC Human Relations