Statement on Kenya National Commission on Human Rights report “Silhouettes of Brutality: An Account of Sexual Violence During and After the 2017 General Elections”

Amnesty International Kenya calls upon the Government to acknowledge, interrogate and implement the findings and recommendations contained in the report released by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights on 29th November 2018.

The report titled “Silhouettes of Brutality: An Account of Sexual Violence During and After the 2017 General Elections” outlines serious human rights violations against women, children and men -including rape, sodomy, defilement, assault or intimidation during last year selection period. The incidences were recorded in Nairobi, Kisumu, Vihiga, Kakamega, Migori, Siaya, Busia, Homa Bay, and Bungoma with one case each in Machakos and Uasin Gishu.

The KNCHR’s findings recorded 201 SGBV cases and indicated that 54.6% of the alleged perpetrators were security agents. It also aggregated the victims by age, sex and violation. For instance, the report has it that the youngest victim was 7 years old while the oldest was 70.

Other worrying revelations include findings that some of the rapes took place in the full glare of children, and that sexual violence was being used as a weapon for electoral-related conflict. Amnesty International Kenya is gravely concerned that the National Police Service (NPS)has dismissed the report and its findings. In four tweets, the NPS accused the Commission of “sensational, preposterous and generalized allegations without actionable evidence” and urged survivors to report to Independent Policing Oversight Authority.

The policy of denial by the National Police Service hinders justice, human rights and most importantly stands on the way of the ongoing police reforms. It denies justice for victims and removes the opportunity for us to identify systemic shortfalls within policing practices and systems with a view of effective changes, said Irũngũ Houghton, Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director.

Kenyans have the right to know the full and complete truth as to the events that transpired, their specific circumstances, and who participated in them, including knowing the circumstances in which the violations took place, as well as the reasons for them. It is the only way we can prevent the violations from happening again.

We also echo the Commission’s recommendation to the President to unequivocally acknowledge the violations of the 2017 electoral-related sexual violence on behalf of the Government and issue an unreserved apology to the survivors and their families, and publicly make a commitment to support the necessary reparations.

The National Police Service, National Police Service Commission, IPOA and the Director of Public Prosecutions must ensure that all SGBV cases highlighted in the report are properly investigated and prosecuted and that those found culpable are removed from the NPS and punished to the full extent of the law.

We reiterate that unless the recommendations are acted on, like the post-elections violence of 2008, impunity and violations of rights will go unpunished.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please call Amnesty International Kenya’s press office in Nairobi on +254700186206 or +254719387127