Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Press Statement: Nairobi, Wednesday 10th May, 2023 For Immediate Release:
Rising Police Brutality: Public Rights Violated, Urgent Action Needed!
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) is deeply concerned about the recent killings of two (2) young men, allegedly by officers from the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), in Wichir location, Wajir County, the killing of a twelve (12) year old boy by the police during the demonstrations in Wajir town, and yesterday’s police killing in Kisumu Town of a nineteen (19) year-old Rang’ala Girls’ High School student, while also injuring other innocent members of the public. The use of excessive force resulting in loss of life and injuries to innocent persons is a violation and abuse of their human rights and it is unacceptable and must be condemned by all law-abiding citizens. The Commission thus, condemns in the strongest terms possible these callous killings and maiming, and takes this moment to condole the families and relatives of the victims.
It is unfortunate that these recent killings of three (3) Kenyans, Two in Wajir County and One in Kisumu County, have occurred in a span of one (1) week between 3rd and 9th May, 2023. KNCHR calls upon the relevant authorities to conduct prompt and impartial investigations into the incidents and ensure that the officers responsible are held accountable.
The Constitution of Kenya, guarantees every person the right to life and the right to security of the person. The right to life is enshrined in Article 26 of the Constitution, which provides that it shall not be taken away except in accordance with the law. The right to security of the person is protected by Article 29 of the Constitution, which provides that every person has the right to security and protection of their person from violence, injury, or abuse. Further, the right to life is also protected by international human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Suffice it to say, all the disciplined and uniformed law enforcement officers and those who supplement national security are mandated to facilitate peaceful assemblies and ensure that the right to life and the right to peaceful assembly are protected.
The KNCHR notes that these uncalled for killings are not isolated incidents, but a manifestation of the culture of impunity and lack of accountability by some rogue officers within the security agencies in Kenya. Article 238, of the Constitution provides for the establishment of the National Police Service and mandates it to uphold the law, protect life and property, prevent and detect crime, and maintain order. KNCHR calls upon the National Police Service to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to act within the law.
The KNCHR also notes that the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has a crucial role to play in ensuring accountability and transparency in the policing sector. Article 244, provides for the establishment of the IPOA and mandates it to hold the police accountable to the public in the performance of their functions. The Commission calls upon the IPOA to conduct prompt and impartial investigations into these incidents and ensure that the police officers responsible are held accountable.
In addition to investigations and accountability, the KNCHR also recommends that the National Police Service, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Kenya Wildlife Services, undertake the following measures to prevent such incidents as they have occurred in Wajir and Kisumu Counties:
The KNCHR also reiterates that the Government has a duty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens in the bill of rights, as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, which provides that it is the duty of the State and every State organ to observe, respect, protect, promote, and fulfill the rights.
Finally, the Commission calls upon anyone with information relating to the three killing incidences in both Wajir and Kisumu to share through SMS-22359, Email- email@example.com and Toll-Free Line 0800 720 627.
Roseline DA Odede