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Monitoring Briefs: UN and ACHPR

The Commission in line with its Constitutional mandate to promote and protect human rights in the Republic of Kenya and enhance state compliance with regional and international human rights instruments,  has been monitoring and documenting activities taking place in the United Nations Human Rights Council and the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.

Discussions and thematic reports on human rights that are relevant to the Kenyan context have been flagged out and elucidated in the two monitoring briefs[KNCHR1] 

Here are a few observations concerning the monitoring that are of particular interest.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights is organising its 69th Ordinary Session scheduled to take place between the 15th November 2021 and the 6th December 2021. During this session, the African Commission will examine Kenya’s 12th and 13th Periodic Report on the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

At the United Nations Human Rights Council, various special mandate holders and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have produced thematic reports which are of interest to the work of the Commission.

On the Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights front, the monitoring brief contains summaries of reports touching on the right to health, housing, and business and human rights. Of note, is the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to housing which assesses the performance of the special mandate on the right to adequate housing. The report  highlights Kenya as best practice in terms of incorporation of the Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement into national law and reference in court cases.

On business and human rights, the Working Group on Business and Human Rights has produced four thematic reports in commemoration of the ten years since the adoption of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Of most relevance, is the report on the role of national human rights institutions in facilitating access to remedy for business-related human rights violations. The report provides critical guide to the National Human Rights Institutions and has strong convergence with the ongoing efforts of the Commission on business and human rights

On the Civil and Political Rights front, the monitoring brief summarizes five thematic reports. The report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of assembly and association concerning access to justice and the right to freedom of assembly and association is of interest. In this report, the Special Rapporteur has mentioned Kenya as amongst countries with retrogressive practices connected to freedom of assemblies, such as bureaucracy surrounding notification of assemblies and barriers to accessing justice for persons deprived of liberty in connection with assemblies. The issues highlighted are useful entry points for the Commission and concerned stakeholders to advocate for the respect of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

The report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights in the administration of justice, including juvenile justice is also of significance.  The report discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on conditions of detention. The OHCHR observations of the impact of COVID-19 on conditions of detention are universal. There are many points of convergence with the observations made by OHCHR regarding overcrowding, health care and judicial oversight and the situation in detention facilities in Kenya. Duty bearers and other players within the criminal justice system ought to reflect on the following questions:

  1. What is the impact of release programs initiated at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic on prison overcrowding?
  2. Is the release program under National Council on the Administration of Justice still ongoing?
  3. Are persons deprived of liberty accessing health services during the pandemic? Have persons deprived of liberty received vaccines? Are they on a priority list?
  4. How has the suspension of court proceedings affected the rights of persons deprived of liberty to access justice?

Lastly, the monitoring report has further highlighted new frontiers of thinking, research and policy action for stakeholders within the human rights arena in Kenya. Examples of the areas through the reports reviewed are:

  1. Possible impacts, opportunities and challenges of new and emerging digital technologies concerning the promotion and protection of human rights
  2. Impact of disinformation on the right to freedom of opinion and expression
  3. Internet shutdown and its impact on the right to freedom of expression and opinion
  4. Promotion and protection of the rights of older persons in the context of climate change

For the full content of the  briefs please access  the attachments below.

For more information concerning the monitoring brief, contact us at haki@knchr.org

 [KNCHR1]Insert hyperlink of the reports

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