The term “police brutality” is sometimes used to refer to various human rights violations by police. This might include beatings, racial and tribal abuse, unlawful killings, torture, or indiscriminate use of riot control agents at protests

Article 244 and 247 of the Constitution of Kenya sets out the functions of the National Police Service. According to the provision, the service is expected to: 

  • Strive for the highest standards of professionalism and discipline
  • Prevent corruption within its ranks. 
  • Promote and practice transparency and accountability.  

Article 29 of the Constitution prohibits any person, including police officers, from subjecting anyone to torture or any other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. This protection applies in all situations, including during arrest, detention, or interrogation.  

Article 50 of the Constitution guarantees every person’s right to life and security. This right implies that the police may only use force when strictly necessary and proportionate to the situation. Using excessive or unnecessary force would violate this right.  

Despite these provisions, police brutality and impunity have persisted in Kenya. Complaints against officers continue to rise, and incidents of arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings remain common occurrences


There are strict international laws and standards governing how and when police can use force – particularly lethal force. 

The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (BPUFF) is the key international instrument that deals with police use of force. 

The most important thing to remember is this: it is the utmost obligation of state authorities, including police, to respect and protect the right to life. 

Under international law, police officers should only ever use lethal force as a last resort. This means when such force is strictly necessary to protect themselves or others from the imminent threat of death or serious injury, and only when other options for de-escalation are insufficient. 


Working with others at the Missing Voices Alliance, we are driven by a profound mission: to end enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions in Kenya. Our journey is guided by the unwavering belief that every life matters and that justice should prevail. Explore the core of our organisation, our values, and the driving force behind our advocacy. 

The majority of extrajudicial executions are preceded by enforced disappearances, a sinister pattern that significantly escalates whenever security agencies are engaged in eliminating suspected organised criminal groups. Moreover, security agencies themselves have been implicated in enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions during counter-terrorism operations, which are carried out by multiple security agencies, including the police, the army, and para-military police. 

The mission of Missing Voices is to bridge the evidentiary gap by layering victims’ testimonies with consolidated quantitative data. The Missing Voices website is designed to fulfil four key functions:  

  1. Documentation and Advocacy: We meticulously document cases of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions, giving voice to the victims and their families. By sharing their stories and the data associated with each case, we advocate for accountability and justice. 
  1.  Awareness and Education: We raise awareness about the prevalence of these grave human rights violations and their impact on individuals and communities. We strive to educate the public and policymakers through informative content and resources. 
  1. Support and Resources: For the families of victims, we provide support resources, including legal aid information, counselling services, and guidance on navigating the legal system. Our goal is to assist those affected by these tragedies in their pursuit of justice. 
  1. Advocacy for Reform: We advocate for policy changes and reforms within security agencies to eliminate the culture of impunity and ensure the protection of human rights. We aim to bring about systemic change by shedding light on these issues. 

Through the Missing Voices website, we endeavour to shed light on the dark corners of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions in Kenya, honouring the lives lost and advocating for a more just and accountable society. Together, we can work towards a future where such grave violations are eradicated and human rights are upheld without compromise. 

Learn more about Enforced Disappearance

Missing voices alliance