Nairobi, 24 October 2023 -Amnesty International Kenya condemns the Sunday, 22 October 2023 acts by the National Police Service, disruption and subsequent arrest of individuals gathered in support of Palestine and occupied territories.
Banning demonstrations, including those held in support of Palestine, amounts to an unlawful attack on the right to protest – said Irungu Houghton, Executive Director of Amnesty International Kenya.
We retaliate that the government has a duty to respect the right of every person to assemble and demonstrate in support of or against any cause peaceably, as protected in Article 37 of the constitution. We emphasise the need to abide by Article 24 of the constitution, which calls for restraint in restricting fundamental rights and freedoms only to the extent acceptable in a free, just, and democratic society.
Kenyans must be allowed to express their opinions, including their views on the ongoing dispute between Israel, Gaza, and other Palestinian territories, regardless of the government’s position as provided in Article 33 of the Constitution. We call upon authorities to avoid broad vilification of protests and assemblies. The Kenyan government must distinguish itself from other jurisdictions where preemptive bans on protests in support of Palestine have been banned. Government agencies ought to promote the spirit of the Bill of Rights and not be an impediment to the realisation of those rights.
“Police have a duty to facilitate and protect the right to protest and refrain from suppressing dissent and subjecting criminal sanctions to those participating in protests,” Irungu said.
We urge the Police to exercise restraint in performing their duties by upholding the rule of law and avoiding political interference in their duties.
We call on Kenyans to continue issuing humanitarian support to Palestine and intensify calls to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches all those in need without discrimination. We also call for Israel to restore the supply of essential commodities, including food, electricity, and water, to Gaza and Palestinian territories in dire need.
Amnesty International Kenya Section Executive Director
For more information, contact Mathias T. Kinyoda at 0786725434 Email: [email protected]
Featured Image: THOMAS MUKOYA | Credit: REUTERS