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Joint Press release on the Killing of Hassan Guyo, a Human Rights Defender, by Security Agents in Moyale, Kenya

1.  We,  the  undersigned  human  rights  organizations,  wish  to  condemn  the  summary execution  of  Hassan  Guyo,  a  prominent  human  rights  defender  based  in  Moyale, Marsabit County. Our preliminary investigations indicate that Mr Guyo was shot from the back by a military officer on 7th August 2013 at around 1700 hours. 2.  Mr Guyo,  40,  was founder  member  and  the Programmes  Director  at Strategies  for Northern Development (SND), an organization that promotes human rights for women, children and refugees and also works on human trafficking issues in the region.  He was an   active   member   of   the   UNDP   Amkeni   waKenya   Civil   Society   Governance Programme  Stakeholders  Reference Group and partnered with various human rights organizations    including  the  Independent  Medico  Legal  Unit  (IMLU),  the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K), Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC).3.  The under signed deployed a fact finding mission to Moyale between 8-12 August 2013 to investigate the incident. The findings indicate that the deceased was fatally shot as he documented excessive use of force and other human rights violations against demonstrators  during a joint operation of the Kenya Defense Forces and the Kenya Police Service in Moyale. The military then fired at anyone who attempted to assist him, blocking  assistance  for  nearly  two  hours,  an  action  that  could  have  been  aimed  at ensuring that the victim died for lack of quick medical attention.

4.  Prior  to  his  execution,  a  demonstration  was  held  by  area  residents  to  protest  the suspension and arrest of Mr Jillo Boru, the chief of Bori location by the Moyale Deputy County  Commissioner.  The  Chief  had  allegedly  been  arrested  in  relation  to  the insecurity in the area. The team of investigators has reliably learnt that the area County Commissioner Mr. Isaiah Nakoru called in the police and the army from Odda town to help disperse the crowds. The circumstances under which the army was deployed to handle such an ordinary policing issue remains unclear, especially in view of conflicting reports as to whether the demonstrations were ongoing by the time the military arrived.

5.  Police and Army officers used excessive force against civilians. They unjustifiably used live bullets, in the process leaving two people with serious gun injuries.  The two were admitted at the Moyale General Hospital, one with a bullet lodged in his back and the other with a serious head injury. Mr. Hassan Guyo was not in Moyale at the time of the demonstration that took place in the morning and early afternoon. He arrived in Moyale from Wajir in the evening after receiving reports of the disturbances.

6.  Upon his arrival in Moyale town at around 1700 hours he hired a motorcycle to take him to the hospital to meet with the victims and to the scene of the skirmishes. This was part and parcel of his regular human rights work to monitor and document human rights violations. It was while he was on his way that he found a road block that was erected by a contingent of army officers at Sessi, which is approximately three hundred meters from the police station and two hundred meters to his office. The army had barricaded the road and was beating people indiscriminately.  Guyo and his rider found several people that had been forced to lie down near the barricade where they were also being beaten.

7.  Ahead of Guyo near the barricade was a taxi whose driver was attempting to back up at high speed after being ordered to do so by the army officers. Guyo’s motorcyclist gave way to the taxi as he also attempted to turn on orders from the same army officers. Guyo alighted from his motorcycle to allow the rider to turn. At that time army officers were shouting at them, at which point he raised his arms to indicate that he was not armed and a sign of surrender since there were gunshots. As he turned to board the motorcycle, he was shot and fell down.

8.  His rider attempted to get him on the motorcycle in order to take him to a hospital. He was however unable to do so because more shots were fired in his direction. He sped off and went to the police station to seek the assistance of the police to get Guyo to hospital. He was not assisted. He rode to the town centre where he informed other people that Guyo had been shot. A group of bodaboda (motorcycle taxi operators) rode to the scene to offer assistance. They were however repulsed by the army officers who shot at them forcing  them  to  scamper  for  safety.  No  one  was  allowed  near  Guyo  including  a uniformed Kenya Red cross official and no medical assistance was given to him for about an hour until around 1815 hours when the army men drove off and the locals went near Guyo and found that he was dead.

9.  His body was picked up from the scene at around 1830 hours by the police. It was taken to Moyale General Hospital where a post mortem (PM) was conducted. The PM report indicated “the cause of death of the late Hassan Guyo is chest and abdominal injuries due to a perforating single gunshot. There was also a major  laceration of the left lobe of the liver tearing through the inferior and superior surfaces.

10. We are gravely concerned by the arbitrary killing of Mr. Hassan Guyo and the excessive use of force by the security agents in the region. Guyos’s execution is not an isolated incident. The killing comes at a time when threats to human rights defenders in both urban slums and the rural areas have escalated in recent months. Various individuals and human rights organizations who have received such threats are concerned that the government   is  either   condoning   this  or  is  unwilling   to  hold   those   responsible accountable.

11. We are further concerned by the disturbing increase in killings by security agents in the name of curbing crime. In the past four months, human rights groups have recorded over one hundred (100) such extra judicial killings. The magnitude and pattern of the killings  suggest  existence  of  a  “shoot  to  kill  policy”  by  our  security  agents.  This worrisome trend is inimical to the Principles of National Security in the Constitution particularly Article 238(2)(b) which provides that “National Security shall be pursued in compliance with the law and with the utmost respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms”

 12. We remind security agencies of their obligations to respect and uphold human rights both as institutions and persons as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of Kenya. They are not exempt on any grounds whatsoever from observing the rule of law and the human rights of the people of Kenya, particularly right to life, freedom of assembly and expression  which  are  the  core  pillars  of  any  democratic  civilization.  The  people  of Kenya have an indisputable legitimate expectation that security agents will defend and not curtail their rights. The execution of Mr. Guyo is not only a very bad thing to happen, but also a totally unacceptable and abhorrent act.

13. The Killing of Guyo is a blatant violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights. Article 26 provides that a person  shall  not  be  deprived  of his life intentionally  except  to the extent authorized  by  the  constitution  and  other  written  law.  (3).  Further,  the  right  to  life  is guaranteed  under  Article  3  of  the  Universal  Declaration  of  Human  Right  (UDHR) which states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”; Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life) and Article  4 of the African Charter  on Human and Peoples’  Rights (ACHPR) “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”.

14. Moreover, Mr. Guyo was a human rights defender and a pillar in the realization of human rights at the vast marginalized Northern Kenya region. The killing of Guyo is clearly a well calculated move to cover-up ongoing human rights violation and impunity of security forces sent in the region to conduct security operations.

15. It must be emphasized that an attack on human rights defenders is not only a violation of the rights of the individual human rights defender but also a serious threat to the promotion and protection of human rights in the society. This is clearly codified in the UN Declaration  on Human Rights Defenders that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1998. The Declaration recognizes the legitimacy of human rights activity and the need for those who carry out human rights work to be protected. States have a responsibility  to  implement  and  respect  all  the  provisions  of  the  Declaration.  In particular, states have a duty to protect HRDs against any violence, retaliation or intimidation  as a consequence  of human rights work.   Further in 2004, the African Union  through  the  Africa  Commission  on  Human  and  Peoples  Rights  created  the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa to deal with the  protection  of  human  rights  defenders.  Kenya  as  a  member  of  UN  and  AU  is therefore obligated to guarantee the safety and security of HRDs across the country.

16. We are therefore calling for:

  • •   The Inspector General of Police (IG), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the National   Police   Service   Commission   and   the   Independent   Police   Oversight Authority   to   exercise   their   mandate   to   ensure   justice   for   the   victims   and accountability for the responsible security officers.
  • •   The DPP to institute an inquest into the circumstances surrounding the killing of the human rights defender, Mr Hassan Guyo, in Moyale, pursuant to Section 386 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
  • •   An independent investigation into the conduct of the County Commissioner, police and the military officers on the material day and the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians.
  • •   The suspension from duty of the commander of both the military and police units that was responsible for the joint operation in Moyale pending investigations.
  • •   The Cabinet  Secretary  for  Defense  to clarify  the  circumstances  under  which  the Army was deployed in Moyale and whether parliamentary approval was sought and given pursuant to Article 241 (3) (c) of the Constitution.
  • •   The Cabinet Secretaries for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, and Ministry of Defense to ensure that security forces on the ground strictly respect the rule of law and Chapter 4 on Bill of Rights and in particular to immediately  cease  arbitrary  use  of  lethal  force  and  extra-legal  actions  against civilians.
  • •   The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to institute investigations and appropriate actions pursuant to Article 25(10) IPOA Act and Schedule 6 (b) (5) to the National Police Service Act with regard to death and serious injury occasioned by use of fire arms.
  • •   The Government to domesticate the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by enacting and operationalizing a policy/legislative framework for safety and protection of human rights defenders

17. We  take  this  opportunity  to  condemn  recent  and  past  incidents  of  human  rights violations directed at security agencies by civilians resulting in loss of life, injury and humiliation. We particularly condemn the most recent incident in which a Member of Parliament reportedly engaged in physical and verbal assault on a female police officer in Nakuru County. We call for immediate legal action on this incident. There cannot be rule of law when those in leadership are themselves not subject to the law. We further urge the people of Kenya jealously safeguard our constitution, respect our institutions and desist from taking the law into their hands.

18. Finally,  we call upon human rights defenders at every corner of the country not to succumb to these acts of threats, intimidation, vilification and violence but to remain steadfast  in  their internationally  and  constitutionally  recognized  right to defend  and champion  human rights. This is the best way to honor comrade Hassan  Guyo. We remain in solidarity with Guyo’s family, colleagues and his community and assure them of our resolve to seek justice for Hassan and to continue the good work for which he sacrificed his life.

knchr khrclogo

Signed:

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR)

Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)

Release Political Prisoners (RPP)

Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU),

National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K)

Katiba Institute

Human Rights Watch

Joint Press release on the Killing of Hassan Guyo, a Human Rights Defender, by Security Agents in Moyale, Kenya

16th August 2013

Joint Press release on the Killing of Hassan Guyo, a Human Rights Defender, by
Security Agents in Moyale, Kenya

1. We, the undersigned human rights organizations, wish to condemn the summary execution of Hassan Guyo, a prominent human rights defender based in Moyale, Marsabit County. Our preliminary investigations indicate that Mr Guyo was shot from the back by a military officer on 7th August 2013 at around 1700 hours.

2. Mr Guyo, 40, was founder member and the Programmes Director at Strategies for Northern Development (SND), an organization that promotes human rights for women, children and refugees and also works on human trafficking issues in the region. He was an active member of the UNDP Amkeni waKenya Civil Society Governance Programme Stakeholders Reference Group and partnered with various human rights organizations including the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU), the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K), Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC).

3. The under signed deployed a fact finding mission to Moyale between 8-12 August 2013 to investigate the incident. The findings indicate that the deceased was fatally shot as he documented excessive use of force and other human rights violations against demonstrators during a joint operation of the Kenya Defense Forces and the Kenya Police Service in Moyale. The military then fired at anyone who attempted to assist him, blocking assistance for nearly two hours, an action that could have been aimed at ensuring that the victim died for lack of quick medical attention.

4. Prior to his execution, a demonstration was held by area residents to protest the suspension and arrest of Mr Jillo Boru, the chief of Bori location by the Moyale Deputy County Commissioner. The Chief had allegedly been arrested in relation to the insecurity in the area. The team of investigators has reliably learnt that the area County Commissioner Mr. Isaiah Nakoru called in the police and the army from Odda town to help disperse the crowds. The circumstances under which the army was deployed to handle such an ordinary policing issue remains unclear, especially in view of conflicting reports as to whether the demonstrations were ongoing by the time the military arrived.

5. Police and Army officers used excessive force against civilians. They unjustifiably used live bullets, in the process leaving two people with serious gun injuries. The two were admitted at the Moyale General Hospital, one with a bullet lodged in his back and the other with a serious head injury. Mr. Hassan Guyo was not in Moyale at the time of the demonstration that took place in the morning and early afternoon. He arrived in Moyale from Wajir in the evening after receiving reports of the disturbances.

6. Upon his arrival in Moyale town at around 1700 hours he hired a motorcycle to take him to the hospital to meet with the victims and to the scene of the skirmishes. This was part and parcel of his regular human rights work to monitor and document human rights violations. It was while he was on his way that he found a road block that was erected by a contingent of army officers at Sessi, which is approximately three hundred meters from the police station and two hundred meters to his office. The army had barricaded the road and was beating people indiscriminately. Guyo and his rider found several people that had been forced to lie down near the barricade where they were also being beaten.

7. Ahead of Guyo near the barricade was a taxi whose driver was attempting to back up at high speed after being ordered to do so by the army officers. Guyo’s motorcyclist gave way to the taxi as he also attempted to turn on orders from the same army officers. Guyo alighted from his motorcycle to allow the rider to turn. At that time army officers were shouting at them, at which point he raised his arms to indicate that he was not armed and a sign of surrender since there were gunshots. As he turned to board the motorcycle, he was shot and fell down.

8. His rider attempted to get him on the motorcycle in order to take him to a hospital. He was however unable to do so because more shots were fired in his direction. He sped off and went to the police station to seek the assistance of the police to get Guyo to hospital. He was not assisted. He rode to the town centre where he informed other people that Guyo had been shot. A group of bodaboda (motorcycle taxi operators) rode to the scene to offer assistance. They were however repulsed by the army officers who shot at them forcing them to scamper for safety. No one was allowed near Guyo including a uniformed Kenya Red cross official and no medical assistance was given to him for about an hour until around 1815 hours when the army men drove off and the locals went near Guyo and found that he was dead.

9. His body was picked up from the scene at around 1830 hours by the police. It was taken to Moyale General Hospital where a post mortem (PM) was conducted. The PM report indicated “the cause of death of the late Hassan Guyo is chest and abdominal injuries due to a perforating single gunshot. There was also a major laceration of the left lobe of the liver tearing through the inferior and superior surfaces”.

10. We are gravely concerned by the arbitrary killing of Mr. Hassan Guyo and the excessive use of force by the security agents in the region. Guyos’s execution is not an isolated incident. The killing comes at a time when threats to human rights defenders in both urban slums and the rural areas have escalated in recent months. Various individuals and human rights organizations who have received such threats are concerned that the government is either condoning this or is unwilling to hold those responsible accountable.

11. We are further concerned by the disturbing increase in killings by security agents in the name of curbing crime. In the past four months, human rights groups have recorded

over one hundred (100) such extra judicial killings. The magnitude and pattern of the killings suggest existence of a “shoot to kill policy” by our security agents. This worrisome trend is inimical to the Principles of National Security in the Constitution particularly Article 238(2)(b) which provides that “National Security shall be pursued in compliance with the law and with the utmost respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms”

12. We remind security agencies of their obligations to respect and uphold human rights both as institutions and persons as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of Kenya. They are not exempt on any grounds whatsoever from observing the rule of law and the human rights of the people of Kenya, particularly right to life, freedom of assembly and expression which are the core pillars of any democratic civilization. The people of Kenya have an indisputable legitimate expectation that security agents will defend and not curtail their rights. The execution of Mr. Guyo is not only a very bad thing to happen, but also a totally unacceptable and abhorrent act.

13. The Killing of Guyo is a blatant violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights. Article
26 provides that a person shall not be deprived of his life intentionally except to the extent authorized by the constitution and other written law. (3). Further, the right to life is guaranteed under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR) which states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”; Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life) and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”.

14. Moreover, Mr. Guyo was a human rights defender and a pillar in the realization of human rights at the vast marginalized Northern Kenya region. The killing of Guyo is clearly a well calculated move to cover-up ongoing human rights violation and impunity of security forces sent in the region to conduct security operations.

15. It must be emphasized that an attack on human rights defenders is not only a violation of the rights of the individual human rights defender but also a serious threat to the promotion and protection of human rights in the society. This is clearly codified in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1998. The Declaration recognizes the legitimacy of human rights activity and the need for those who carry out human rights work to be protected. States have a responsibility to implement and respect all the provisions of the Declaration. In particular, states have a duty to protect HRDs against any violence, retaliation or intimidation as a consequence of human rights work. Further in 2004, the African Union through the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights created the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa to deal with the protection of human rights defenders. Kenya as a member of UN and AU is therefore obligated to guarantee the safety and security of HRDs across the country.

16. We are therefore calling for:

• The Inspector General of Police (IG), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the National Police Service Commission and the Independent Police Oversight Authority to exercise their mandate to ensure justice for the victims and accountability for the responsible security officers.
• The DPP to institute an inquest into the circumstances surrounding the killing of the human rights defender, Mr Hassan Guyo, in Moyale, pursuant to Section 386 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
• An independent investigation into the conduct of the County Commissioner, police and the military officers on the material day and the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians.
• The suspension from duty of the commander of both the military and police units that was responsible for the joint operation in Moyale pending investigations.
• The Cabinet Secretary for Defense to clarify the circumstances under which the Army was deployed in Moyale and whether parliamentary approval was sought and given pursuant to Article 241 (3) (c) of the Constitution.
• The Cabinet Secretaries for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, and Ministry of Defense to ensure that security forces on the ground strictly respect the rule of law and Chapter 4 on Bill of Rights and in particular to immediately cease arbitrary use of lethal force and extra-legal actions against civilians.
• The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to institute investigations and appropriate actions pursuant to Article 25(10) IPOA Act and Schedule 6 (b) (5) to the National Police Service Act with regard to death and serious injury occasioned by use of fire arms.
• The Government to domesticate the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by enacting and operationalizing a policy/legislative framework for safety and protection of human rights defenders

17. We take this opportunity to condemn recent and past incidents of human rights violations directed at security agencies by civilians resulting in loss of life, injury and humiliation. We particularly condemn the most recent incident in which a Member of Parliament reportedly engaged in physical and verbal assault on a female police officer in Nakuru County. We call for immediate legal action on this incident. There cannot be rule of law when those in leadership are themselves not subject to the law. We further urge the people of Kenya jealously safeguard our constitution, respect our institutions and desist from taking the law into their hands.

18. Finally, we call upon human rights defenders at every corner of the country not to succumb to these acts of threats, intimidation, vilification and violence but to remain steadfast in their internationally and constitutionally recognized right to defend and champion human rights. This is the best way to honor comrade Hassan Guyo. We remain in solidarity with Guyo’s family, colleagues and his community and assure them of our resolve to seek justice for Hassan and to continue the good work for which he sacrificed his life.

Signed:

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
Release Political Prisoners (RPP) Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU),
National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K) Katiba Institute
Human Rights Watch

Press Release On The National Police Service Commission Statement To Provide Health Insurance To Police Officers

NCHRD-K wishes to take this opportunity to applaud the government’s decision to provide health insurance to members of the Kenya Police, Administration Police, and Prisons Service, in a statement made by Chairman Johnston Kavuludi, the chairperson of the National Police Service Commission on Monday 20th  May 2013. This comes at a time when there is a rise in insecurity and thus increased risk on the police officers on duty.

The NCHRD-K welcomes the decision by the government which comes during a period when the country is pained by the greed of the Members of Parliament (MPs) who were demanding a pay increment barely a month after taking office. The demands made by our MPs are indicative of their intentions of taking office; which are for monetary gains and not for the service of their constituents who elected them.

NCHRD-K has taken cognisance of the fact that the government, in coming to the decision on health insurance for police officers, is upholding equality before the law as a principle of the Rule of Law by moving towards actualising the provisions of Article 43 (1)(a) of the Constitution which provides that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which include the right to health care services, including reproductive health care; and Article 43 (3) which provides that the State shall provide appropriate social security to persons who are unable to support themselves and their dependants.

The NCHRD-K would therefore like urge the government to:

1.   Fast  track  the  initiative  and  ensure  that  not  only  are  the  police  officers protected in the line of duty, but their dependants also enjoy the highest attainable standard of health care.

2.   Continue to work towards the promotion of social and economic rights of the police officers by addressing their housing needs.

3.   Continue to provide incentives to the police officers especially at a time when the country is faced with increased insecurity.

 

SIGNED

Kamau Ngugi,

Coordinator, National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya

Nairobi, 20 May 2013.

For inquiries contact: DK Ngugi, info@nchrdk.org; Tel; 0712632390

Press Release On The Landmark Resolution Adopted By The Human Rights Council On Protection Of Human Rights Defenders

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya, a membership organization that was established in 2007 as a platform for human rights defenders (HRDs) to address their issues and work towards a safe working environment applaud the resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, on which Kenya has a seat.

The landmark resolution was adopted on 21 March 2013 and states that the use and abuse of  national  law  to impair,  restrict and  criminalise  the  work of  human  rights  defenders is a contravention of international law and must end. The resolution, which was led by Norway and  adopted  by  consensus,  calls on  all  states to  support  the  work of human  rights defenders and to protect them from harassment, threats and attacks.

The resolution comes at a time when the prevailing environment for human rights defenders in Kenya can only be described as volatile. Prior to, during the campaigns and following the March 2013 National and County elections, the role of the civil society has been under unprecedented attack by politicians, commentators and social media activist.

The recent action by some civil society groups to go to the High Court to raise a red flag regarding the vote tallying process and later to the Supreme Court to contest the outcome of the presidential results that declared the Jubilee Alliance presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta as the ultimate winner, has particularly elicited unprecedented vitriol, hate messages in all sorts of media and threats against individuals associated with the matter and human rights defenders fraternity at large.

As political contest and the credibility of the electoral process is being resolved at the Supreme Court, Kenyans must not lose sight of some basic agreements we proudly agreed on when we overwhelmingly passed a new constitution on 2010.

Among the affirmations was that Kenya shall be a democratic state founded on national values and principles  of governance  that include  respect  for  human  dignity,  equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non discrimination and protection of the marginalised (Art. 10). We also stated that every person shall enjoy the rights and fundamental freedoms in the Bill of Rights…(Art 20) and that “every person has the right to institute court proceedings claiming that a right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights has been denied, violated or infringed or is threatened” (Art. 22).

The  Constitution  safeguards;  not  withstanding  it  must  be  recalled  that  the  work  of human  rights  defenders  is  legal  and  is  legitimated  by  international  and  national

communities. In 1998, the United Nations General Assembly approved the “Declaration on  the  Rights  and  Responsibility  of  Individuals,  Groups  and  Organs  of  Society  to Promote   and   Protect   Universally   Recognized   Human   Rights   and   Fundamental Freedoms” (commonly referred to as UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders acknowledges “the valuable work of individuals, groups and associations in contributing to the effective elimination of all violations of human  rights and  fundamental  freedoms and  the relationship  between international peace and security and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It is therefore concerning that civil society groups and individual human rights defenders in Kenya, who are often the only force standing between ordinary people and the unbridled power of the state have their human rights being violated.

Civil Society Organisations (CSO) who have moved to court respecting the electoral process and in exercise of their constitutionally protected rights have been target of increased threats, abuse and intimidation. They have borne the brunt of negative propaganda and smear campaigns attempting to portray HRDs in bad light for raising legitimate concerns regarding the conduct of the 04 March general elections.

This is unacceptable. In their work, CSOs are guided by selfless mission to challenge the forces of impunity and to ensure that the constitutional threshold for governance and rule of law are met. They do not advance partisan agenda.

NCHRD-K would like to reiterate that the work of human rights defenders is essential in upholding democracy and the rule of law and this can only be achieved by ensuring a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders to work.

NCHRD-K therefore welcomes the resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council and calls upon the government of Kenya to support the work of human rights defenders and to protect them from harassment, threats and attacks.

We urge the current government and AND the government that will eventually triumph to guide the country in the next five years to embrace the UN declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the resultant resolution and to ensure a safe and enabling environment for HRDs to work.

 SIGNED Kamau Ngugi,

Coordinator, National Coalition Of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya

Nairobi, 22 March 2013.

For inquiries contact: DK Ngugi, info@nchrdk.org; Tel; 0712632390

Press Statement on Utterances made by the Deputy Inspector General of Administration Police Samuel Arachi in the Star Newspaper

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD) wishes to express its concern over the utterances made by the Deputy Inspector General of Administration Police Samuel Arachi on page 4 of The Star Newspaper dated Monday, February 18, 2013 under the article dubbed “AP recruits begin training.”

Mr. Arachi accused civil society and human rights activists of keeping quiet when AP officers are killed on duty. He said, and I quote:

“They are never vocal when a police officer is killed by criminals. The life of a police officer is as important as that of any other Kenyan. Why are they not vocal when an officer is killed?”

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD) is deeply perturbed at the aforementioned statement made by Deputy Inspector General Samuel Arachi. We are therefore, this afternoon, submitting this press statement to inform the Deputy Inspector General Samuel Arachi and the general public of the following:

1.   That human rights apply to all human beings and are therefore universal. All human beings are holders of human rights, independent from what they do, where they come from, where they live and from their national citizenship or even their community.

2.   That human rights are categorical (every human being has these rights, they cannot be denied  to  anyone),  egalitarian  (every  human  being  has  the  same  rights),  individual (human rights apply to every human being as individual and protect the latter from violations  by  a  collective),  fundamental  (human  rights  protect  basic  and  essential elements of human existence) and indivisible (the whole catalogue of human rights must be respected, they are complimentary).

3.   That Civil Society and human rights defenders pledge to promote and protect the rights of individuals and are governed by the aforementioned principles of universality of human rights in the performance of their duties.

4.  That Civil Society and human rights defenders, without discrimination, uphold and advocate for the respect, promotion and protection of human rights provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, mirrored in chapter 4 of the Constitution of Kenya.

5.   That  Civil  Society and  human rights  defenders  do  not  discriminate in  the fight  for protection of Human rights, and in this instance Article 3 of the UDHR read together with Article 26 of the Constitution that provides for the right to life, liberty and security of person.

6.   And most importantly, that the Police Reforms Working Group- Kenya, which comprises about 11Civil Society Organisations, on 13th November 2012, released a press statement to all media houses on the escalating insecurity in the country and the killings of police officers by civilians. Where they condemned the brutal murders of 37 police officers who were killed on Saturday November 10th 2012 in Baragoi following a botched operation to recover  livestock.

It is imperative for the Deputy Inspector General to recognise that every day in every part of the world, HRDs and civil society organizations contribute to the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights. In the course of their work, human rights defenders face numerous obstacles and risks that restrict the scope of their human rights research, documentation and advocacy work, some of which are attributed to state security agents.

We are saddened that as we work towards creating a safe environment for HRDs to operate in Kenya, the statement of the Deputy Inspector General to single out civil society for uncalled for allegation has the impact of creating a wedge between the civil society and members of the police service. It further undermines recent efforts for collaboration pledged by the head of police service and civil society organizations.

It should be recalled that on Friday 8 February 2013, the Inspector General of Police in Kenya conversed  with Civil Society groups  in Kenya and pledged  to work  closely with CSOs to promote protection and promotion of human rights particularly during the electoral process.

It is in this breath that The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders therefore call upon by Deputy Inspector General Samuel Arachi to:

Discharge his duties professionally, fairly and in a manner that unites all groups that play a positive role in the development of a human rights respecting nation. He must in particular commit to working closely with members of the civil society and human rights defenders and refrain from making unfound and baseless allegations that contribute to a polarised nation.

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders

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