Hivos: Increased cases of extra-judicial killings an affront to human rights

July 5, 2016

Nairobi, 5 July 2016

Hivos East Africa strongly condemns the continuous escalation of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in Kenya, during the latest of which human rights lawyer, Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda, and taxi driver Joseph Muiriri were killed.

Hivos East Africa is deeply concerned about the impunity surrounding these types of crimes, which if left unchecked will further limit the fundamental rights and freedoms of Kenyan citizens. These attacks are contrary to Kenya’s constitution, which upholds Right to Life (Article 26), Human Dignity (Article 28) and Freedom from torture, inhumane treatment and punishment (Article 29).

Human rights defenders like Willie Kimani and his colleagues at the International Justice Mission have been instrumental in fighting for the protection of victims of police torture and brutality. Such individuals help uphold the accountability to human rights standards that is essential for a democratic society.

Accountability needs to be at the forefront of extra-judicial killings

While some progress has been made towards police reforms, public confidence in the service continues to be eroded due to accusations of impunity, use of excessive force, human rights abuse and corruption.

Hivos East Africa stresses the need for the government to fast-track sufficient accountability mechanisms beyond mandated institutions, such as the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA), and be more responsive to citizens’ demands for democratic policing and a police service that truly protects and serves them. We wish to reiterate the State has the responsibility to protect the human rights of all citizens. We recognize that civilian oversight through open governance is critical to the democratic control of the security sector.

A call to the Kenyan government

Hivos East Africa urges the government of Kenya to conduct prompt, transparent and impartial investigations of the murder of Willie Kimani, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri and ensure those responsible go through the due process of law.

Kenya is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which commits the government to uphold the rule of law. We therefore call on the government to actively uphold the rights of its citizens and respect the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the constitution.

In solidarity with human rights organizations and individuals in civil society, we will continue to advocate for the protection of civil and human rights that safeguard the right to life, personal security and freedom of expression.

We join the rest of the Kenyan community in urging the government of Kenya to end the impunity surrounding extra-judicial killings. We will continue to act on our mandate and commitment to build citizen-led agencies that call for government accountability and fight to eradicate violations of all human rights.

Sign this petition to help bring justice to the murder of Willie Kimani, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri. 

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