Criminalize Enforced Disappearances in Kenya
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We the undersigned civil society organizations are members of the Missing Voices Coalition (hereafter referred to as the coalition); whose mission is to end Enforced Disappearances (EDs) and Extra Judicial Killings (EJKs) in Kenya. The coalition serves as a resource and advocacy tool for its members, supports live reporting and documentation of incidences of EDs and EJKs, and enhances justice for victims through submitting cases to oversight authorities, and its members to institute cases in court.
Over the last couple of years, the coalition members have documented numerous cases of EDs and EJKs committed by security agents. Since January 2019 to the 27th of August 2020, 267 deaths were reported as a result of unlawful use of force by police. In 2016, it was reported that at least 34 people had been forcefully disappeared during counterterrorism measures by security agencies. Currently, the number of people who have been disappeared stands at 153. Despite Kenya having a progressive Constitution and numerous pieces of legislation to ensure that police officers discharge their duties with due regard to human rights and respect for the rule of law, acts of EDs and EJKs are still rampant.
The Coalition recognizes that the National Coroner’s Service Act, 2017 was enacted to, among other reasons, bring an end to the impunity of perpetrators of EDs and EJKs. The Act is essential in demanding accountability of deaths caused by police officers or unnatural causes. The Act directs the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to establish the Coroner General’s office. Section 68 of the Act specifically provides for the establishment of the National Coroners Council which consists of, among others, the Principal Secretary for Justice. The Coalition notes that the Coroner General has not been appointed since its enactment. With the lack of Coroner General’s office, many cases of EDs and EJKs go unsolved.
Further, the Coalition notes that although Kenya has signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, it is yet to ratify it. The Convention criminalizes the act of EDs and classifies it as a crime against humanity. The Convention obligates States to fight EDs in their respective territories. Additionally, the Convention affirms the right of families and relatives of the victims to the truth about the fate of their victims of EDs, and to compensation or reparation.
The Coalition is concerned that the State continues to perpetuate crimes against international law and condones the violation of human rights hence hampering the fight against EDs and EJKs.
The Coalition notes that EDs and EJKs are grave human rights violations which deny victims basic human rights such as freedom from torture, legal representation, the presumption of innocence, fair trial and equal protection under the law and Kenya's Constitution.
Sign this petition to demand that:
1. Parliament to allocate funding to the Attorney General’s office to allow the implementation of the National Coroner’s Service Act 2017
2. Government of Kenya to create national laws that criminalize Enforced Disappearances
3. Government of Kenya to ratify, without any reservations, the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
4. Prosecution of persons found responsible for Enforced Disappearances and Extrajudicial killings
5. Government of Kenya to provide reparations including monetary compensation for damages caused to victims, medical and psychological care and rehabilitation for any form of physical or mental damage, as well as a legal and social rehabilitation
Signed by Members of the Missing Voices Coalition:
Amnesty International Kenya
Heinrich Boll Stiftung
Kenya Human Rights Commission
Kituo Cha Sheria – Legal Advice
International Commission of Jurists Kenya
International Justice Mission- Kenya
Independent Medico-Legal Unit
Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI)
National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders- Kenya
ODIPO DEV LTD
Peace Brigades International- Kenya Project
Protection International Kenya
Social Justice Working Centres Group
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