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Nairobi, 7 July 2023: Amnesty International Kenya is monitoring protests taking place in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Turkana and other parts of the country. Today’s protest commemorates the historical “Saba Saba” movement, which significantly expanded human rights and democracy during the second liberation in the 1990s.

We have received reports of arbitrary arrests of protestors in Nairobi and Western Kenya and selective excessive force against those exercising their right to peacefully assemble, express themselves and register their dissent with recent taxation measures and the cost of living.

Measures taken to ensure the Azimio la Umoja Kamukunji rally proceeds peacefully should have been consistently deployed across all the other demonstrations that police officers have forcefully disrupted.

Article 21 of the Constitution binds the police to fulfil, promote and protect human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly. The 2nd Schedule of the National Police Service Act mandates that police use force only as a last resort and in an accountable manner. It is only appropriate to use force in specific circumstances, such as to protect life.

Our report on the March 2023 policing of Maandamano protests empirically documented the misuse of live bullets and teargas, resulting in deaths, injuries, and destruction. 12 people died as a result of police action. Among them were two babies who choked to death as teargas filled their homes in Nairobi’s informal settlements.

Amnesty International Kenya urges the police to release those lawfully exercising their right to protest and refrain from using excessive and unlawful force that may result in injuries and deaths.

Commanding Officers must also ensure those arrested are granted their rights, including information regarding why they are being arrested, freedom from torture, cruel and inhumane treatment, and assistance from friends, family and legal counsel.

Signed

Irungu Houghton

Executive Director

Amnesty International Kenya

For more information and interviews,

contact Mathias T. Kinyoda on Mobile: +254723424802

Email: [email protected] 

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