Press Statement of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the human rights situation in Kenya

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) is deeply concerned about the developments in the Republic of Kenya related to and following the purported swearing in of opposition leader, Raila Odinga, as the Peoples’ President in Uhuru Park on 30 January 2018.

    Reports have reached the Commission that three private television stations (NTV, Citizen TV and KTN) were shut down while attempting to live broadcast the inauguration. The Commission is concerned by allegations that despite a court order on 01 February 2018 to allow the stations to reopen, the government has ordered the shutdown continued for a whole week, and one of the stations remains off air to date. The Commission is also concerned that the police force was used to prevent the court order from being served on the Kenyan Media Council, and that teargas was reportedly used to disperse protestors on 05 February 2018 who were demanding the reopening of the television stations.

    The Commission has further taken note of the arrest of opposition politicians Miguna Miguna, TJ Kajwang and George Aladwa, ostensibly for their role in the inauguration ceremony. The Commission is concerned about their treatment while in custody, particularly in respect of Mr Miguna who, despite a bond obtained on 02 February for his release, was reportedly denied medical treatment and instead deported from the country.

    The Commission affirms the fundamental right to freedom of expression as provided for in Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter), and reiterates that respect for the right to freedom of expression includes respect for a free press, freedom of association and access to information. The Commission reaffirms the rights of arrested and detained persons, including the right to apply for release on bail or bond pending investigations and to access medical assistance, as provided for in the Commission’s Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-trial Detention in Africa.

    The Commission underscores the importance of a strong and independent judiciary in upholding the rule of law and ensuring that the fruits of democracy can be enjoyed by all.

    In this regard, the Commission:

    1.     Calls on the Government of Kenya to fully respect and ensure respect by all members of society for the independence and integrity of the judiciary including through prompt adherence to decisions of the courts where orders were made against the Government;

    2.     Calls on the Government to ensure that police officers fully respect human rights, and follow applicable standards while enforcing law and order; and

    3.     Urges all political actors and their supporters including the opposition to act within the rule of law, the Kenyan Constitution and the African Charter to which Kenya is a party and to uphold tolerance and mutual respect.  

     

    Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, Commissioner Rapporteur for the Republic of Kenya

    Commissioner Lawrence Mute, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information


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      Date: 09 February 2018

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