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'High time to end police impunity' - UN experts tell Kenyan government

'High time to end police impunity' - UN experts tell Kenyan government

Kenya

A group of United Nations (UN) human rights experts have called on the Kenyan government to arrest the current spate of extrajudicial killings in the country and to ensure accountability for the perpetrators.

The call by the group comes on the back of the gruesome murder of a human rights lawyer, his client and their driver. Four police officers are currently facing murder charges over the deaths.

“The recent murder of a well-known lawyer and human rights defender is having a dramatic and detrimental impact on civil society, especially on those active in the field of human rights,” the experts noted.

It is urgent for the Government of Kenya to address the apparent structural and systemic motives behind police brutality.

“It is urgent for the Government of Kenya to address the apparent structural and systemic motives behind police brutality,” the added.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has documented a trend of widespread and systematic rights violations and forced disappearances by police and other security agencies under the excuse of counter-terrorism measures.

Several human rights groups have also deplored the situation in the east African country, calling on the government to remedy the situation and to do so conclusively.

The UN group described the loss of lawyer Willie Kimani as a dramatic loss for the human rights community in Kenya adding that, ‘‘This heinous human rights violation should prompt the authorities to take concrete measures to put an end to police impunity.”

On 1 July 2016, Mr. Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and their driver Joseph Muiruri were found in a river in Ol-Donyo Sabuk, Machakos county, with apparent signs of torture, one week after they had been abducted by unidentified persons.

“It is vital for human rights defenders to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms free from intimidation or fear of reprisals; and for the society as a whole to live in a country respectful of the rule of law,” the UN independent experts concluded.

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