The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has learned from the media and the Parliamentary sessions on the unfortunate actions undertaken by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) of dismissing 133 candidates after being subjected to mandatory HIV and pregnancy testing in a recruiting process. The Commission condemns this retrogressive and highly discriminatory action by KRA as the same is illegal and in contravention of our Constitution and the Laws of Kenya.

The Commission particularly wishes to remind the Kenya Revenue Authority that Article 27(4) of our Constitution safeguards everyone from discrimination on any grounds including sex, pregnancy, and health status. Article 41(1) of the Constitution further enshrines to everyone the right to fair labour practices which includes a fair recruitment process free from non-discrimination.

Kenya has come a long way in combating stigma and discrimination of persons living with HIV and AIDs. Such unfortunate moves are a claw back on the gains so far attained and a threat to their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Mandatory testing of persons without their informed consent and lack of adherence to ethical standards including confidentiality is illegal in Kenya.

Section 13 of the HIV and Aids Prevention and Control Act, of 2006 outlaws compulsory testing and provides that no person shall compel another to undergo an HIV test as a precondition to employment. Section 14 of the Act further makes it mandatory to attain informed consent prior to the HIV testing. Any person acting in contravention of these provisions is perpetuating offences.

The Commission therefore condemns in the strongest terms possible the illegal and retrogressive action undertaken by KRA and calls for the speedy conclusion of the investigations. Those found culpable of these violations must face the full wrath of the law and be held individually accountable for perpetuating illegal and unconstitutional acts. We cannot afford to slide back into the abyss of human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma on the most vulnerable groups in our society.

In the interim, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights recommends the following actions to redress this violation:

1. Immediate Reinstatement: The 133 candidates who were dismissed should be immediately reinstated pending a full investigation into the         matter.
2. Compensation: The affected candidates should be compensated for the violation of their rights and the trauma they have endured.
3. Policy Review: Kenya Revenue Authority should review its recruitment policies and practices to ensure they are in line with the Constitution and relevant laws, particularly regarding HIV and pregnancy testing.
4. Sensitization and Training: Kenya Revenue Authority should provide sensitization and training to its staff on human rights, non-discrimination,      and best practices in recruitment.
5. Accountability: Those responsible for this violation should be held accountable, and measures should be put in place to prevent such violations from occurring in the future.
6. Publish a Public Apology: Kenya Revenue Authority to offer a public apology and repeat the recruitment process by according all qualified       candidates an equal opportunity free from non-discrimination.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights calls on the Kenya Revenue Authority to take immediate action to address these recommendations and ensure that such violations do not occur again. KNCHR also urges other government agencies and private sector employers to adhere to the Constitution and relevant laws in their recruitment processes to protect the rights of all Kenyan citizens.

The Commission remains steadfast in safeguarding the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all and as such calls on any of the affected persons to reach out through- : SMS-22359, Email-; and Toll-Free Line 0800720 627 to facilitate its investigations and redress action.

Roseline Odede

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

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