On September 30, Peace Brigades International-Switzerland Advocacy Coordinator Kim-Mai Vu presented on the human rights situation in Kenya during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) general debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

She stated:

We welcome the important contributions to the UPR of Kenya.

Due to Covid-19 and restrictive measures that have been put in place by the Kenyan government, the poorest areas in Kenya have plunged into multiple crises: lack of water, loss of income, gender-based violence. On top of that, police violence has continued to be a daily experience in Kenya. In 2020 alone, according to Missing Voices, 115 persons have been victims of extrajudicial killings and forceful disappearances, of which 28 are from the urban settlements. Furthermore, in this period, freedom of assembly is in jeopardy by the Government of Kenya’s restrictions. For example, on 7 of July, 63 protestors were arrested when trying to do a peaceful demonstration demanding accountability from the government.

Therefore, we welcome the numerous recommendations made by various States to the government of Kenya and want to emphasize the following recommendations:

– End all enforced disappearances, torture, and extrajudicial killings, and to ensure that full investigations are conducted into all allegations of these human rights violations, as recommended by at least nine States.

– To fully implement the Coroner’s Service Act, as recommended by Canada and Australia.

– To protect activists and human rights defenders and uphold the right to assemble and freedom of expression. As many UN experts have noted, States should not abuse emergencies to restrict human rights.

To see the video of the presentation of this statement, please click here (item #18 at 33:57).

Peace Brigades International-Switzerland regularly presents statements to the Human Rights Council in collaboration with PBI field projects and allies and has had consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2014.

Please also note that there will be a Peace Brigades International webinar on police violence on Friday, October 30 at 10 am ET featuring defenders from Kenya, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia and Canada sharing their experiences and analysis. To register for this webinar, please click here.

With thanks to PBI-Canada for this article.