KENYA NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Nairobi, 1st October 2022
Commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP), 1st October 2022.
Theme: “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World.”
For Immediate Release
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights joins the world in marking the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) commemorated on 1st October every year. The International Day of Older presents an opportunity to take stock of progress made in the protection of the rights of older persons, increase awareness of and champion the rights of older persons and celebrate their successes. Globally, millions of families enjoy their human rights through the noble contribution and roles played by older persons as parents and caregivers to not only orphans but also abled families.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights strongly recognizes the contribution of older persons within the community to a more inclusive, just and peaceful society. To this end – the KNCHR calls for robust interventions to guarantee the full enjoyment of human rights by older persons as protected in international, regional and national human rights instruments.
The KNCHR acknowledges several milestones that Kenya has realized in towards safeguarding the rights of older persons. Notable are the National Social Protection Policy, the National Policy on Older Persons and Ageing and Cash Transfer Programmes meant to provide social safety nets for the elderly.
As we celebrate the efforts and achievements of our senior Citizens, the KNCHR is greatly disturbed by the increasing rise in human rights violations including targeted attacks against elderly persons on allegations of practicing witchcraft. On 17th October 2021, the Country woke up to the shocking and disturbing news of 4 persons killed on suspicion of practicing witchcraft in Marani Ward, Kitutu Chache North Sub-county, Kisii County. Sindege Mayaka (aged 85), Jemima Nyang’ate Mironga (aged 60), Rael Sigara (aged 92) and Agnes Moraa Ototo (aged 57) were attacked by a group of youth who set them ablaze after hacking and bludgeoning them with crude weapons. The KNCHR is supporting the quest for justice by the families of the deceased victims by representing them in Court where suspects are facing murder charges. The KNCHR is alive to ongoing harmful practices in Kilifi County where older persons have been the target of attacks and killings on allegations of practicing witchcraft. Whereas a safe house for older persons is operational in Kilifi County, there is a need to enhance public awareness on the rights of older persons. The Youth should be urged to immediately stop attacking the senior citizens. We call upon religious and other organizations and Kenyans of good will to intervene and protect the older persons.
Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Kenya sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that each individual in Kenya is entitled to. It affirms that the rights and fundamental freedoms belong to each individual and are not limited unless subject to the provisions of the Constitution.
Article 57 of the Constitution stipulates that “the State shall take measures to ensure the rights of older persons to fully participate in the affairs of society; to pursue their personal development; to live in dignity and respect and be free from abuse, and to receive reasonable care and assistance from their family and the state”.
In addition, Kenya has ratified several regional and international human rights instruments that guarantee the rights of all persons. Among the instruments are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, among other instruments. Among the rights protected are: the right to life; the right to liberty and security of person; the freedom from torture, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment; the right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal; the right to not be subjected to arbitrary interference with a person’s privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon their honour and reputation; the right to own property and to not be arbitrarily deprived of this property; among other rights
The KNCHR notes that growing old is a natural process that should be a blessing to all and older Persons (just like every other human being) are entitled to live in dignity..
To the elderly persons, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights celebrates you on this day and assures you of its commitment to protect your rights and dignity. To further this, the KNCHR calls upon the state to among others:
- Ensure perpetrators of violence and violations of whatever nature against older persons are promptly brought to book.
- Enhance social protection for older persons through adequate budgetary allocation, enhanced enrollment of beneficiaries and transparency in the administration of the cash transfer programme.
- In collaboration with stakeholders including Civil Society and Faith Based Organizations, carry out targeted community awareness on the rights of older persons.
- Ensure the Retirement Benefits Authority, NSSF and all Pension Schemes expedite the processing and payment of pensions for older persons immediately upon retirement.
- Provide free and accessible quality health care for older people, including NHIF enrolment and enhancement of benefits.
“Haki kwa wote, kila wakati” – Human rights for all, at all times.
Ms Roseline Odede HSC