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Human rights in Kenya

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Title: Human rights in Kenya  
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Subject: Politics of Kenya, Constitution of Kenya, Government of Kenya, Foreign relations of Kenya, List of heads of state of Kenya
Collection: Human Rights by Country, Human Rights in Kenya, Kenyan Law, Politics of Kenya
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Human rights in Kenya

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Foreign relations

Human rights in Kenya are far better than in most of Africa , though political freedom is still curtailed.


  • History 1
    • Kenyatta (1964-1978) 1.1
    • Moi (1978-2002) 1.2
    • Kibaki (since 2002) 1.3
  • Historical situation 2
  • International treaties 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Kenyatta (1964-1978)

During the first post-independence presidency of Kenya, under President Jomo Kenyatta, state security forces harassed dissidents and were suspected of complicity in several murders of prominent personalities deemed as threats to his regime, including Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya and J.M. Kariuki.[1] MP and Lawyer C.M.G. Argwings-Kodhek and former Kadu Leader and minister Ronald Ngala also died, in suspicious car accidents.

Moi (1978-2002)

The Daniel arap Moi administration consistently received international criticism of its record on human rights. Under Moi, security forces regularly subjected opposition leaders and pro-democracy activists to arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, abuse in custody, and deadly force.

International aid donors and governments such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Norway periodically broke off diplomatic relations and suspended aid allocations, pending human rights improvement.

Kibaki (since 2002)

Since 2002, under the Mwai Kibaki presidency, politically motivated human rights violations have diminished, but other serious human rights abuses persist, a great many at the hands of security forces, particularly the police. The police force is widely viewed as the most corrupt entity in the country, given to extorting bribes, complicity in criminal activity, and using excessive force against both criminal suspects and crowds. Most police who commit abuses still do so with impunity. Prison conditions remain life-threatening.

Apart from police and penal system abuses, infringements of rights in the course of legal proceedings are widespread, despite recent pressure on judicial personnel. Freedom of speech and of the press continue to be compromised through various forms of harassment of journalists and activists. Violence and discrimination against women are rife. The abuse of children, including in forced labor and prostitution, is a serious problem. Female genital mutilation (FGM) remains widespread, despite 2001 legislation against it for girls under 16. The abuse of women and girls, including early marriage and wife inheritance, is a factor in the spread of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

Kenya made some progress in 2003, when it set up a national human rights institution, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), with a mandate to ensure Kenya's compliance with international human rights standards. Also, parliament passed the Children's Act to ensure the protection of minors, as well as the Disability Act, outlawing discrimination against the disabled.

In November 2005 the Kenyan government banned rallies of opposition parties, rejecting calls for new elections. Vice President Moody Awori stated:

The government considers these calls for nationwide rallies inappropriate and a threat to national security [...]
Accordingly, the government will not allow the planned rallies and wananchi (citizens) are cautioned not to attend the meetings.

On 3 June 2007, two days after President Mwai Kibaki stated that Mungiki members "should expect no mercy", about 300 Mungiki members were arrested and at least 20 killed.[2] John Michuki, at the time Minister for Internal Security, publicly stated following the killings, "We will pulverize and finish them off. Even those arrested over the recent killings, I cannot tell you where they are today. What you will certainly hear is that so and so's burial is tomorrow".[2][3] In the KNCHR's Cry of Blood — Report on Extra-Judicial Killings and Disappearances published in September 2008,[2] the KNCHR reported these in their key finding "e)", stating that the forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings appeared to be official policy.[2]

In November 2008, WikiLeaks brought wide international attention[4] to The Cry of Blood. In the report, the KNCHR's first key finding "a)" was that "the evidence gathered by the KNCHR establishes patterns of conduct by the Kenya Police that may constitute crimes against humanity.[2]

On 5 March 2009, two of the human rights investigators involved in the investigations documented in the report,

External links

  1. ^ [2]
  2. ^ a b c d e The Cry of Blood' — Report on Extra-Judicial Killings and Disappearances"'" (PDF).  
  3. ^ Untranslated original: Tutawanyorosha na tutawamaliza. Hata wenye wameshikwa kwa kuhusiana na mauaji ya hivi majuzi, siwezi nikakwambia wako wapi leo. Nyinyi tu mtakuwa mkisikia mazishi ya fulani ni ya kesho. See Cry of Blood reference.
  4. ^ a b  
  5. ^ a b McConnell, Tristan (2009-03-07). "Rights activist Oscar Kamau Kingara shot dead in central Nairobi".  
  6. ^ "Wikileaks writers killed in Kenya". Hawai`i Free Press/ 
  7. ^ Palmer, Paula; Chris Allan (20 April 2010). "Cultural Survival Releases Report on Human Rights Violations by Police in Samburu East and Isiolo Districts, Kenya" (PDF). Cultural Survival. Retrieved Sep 16, 2013. 
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1.^ Note that the "Year" signifies the "Year covered". Therefore the information for the year marked 2008 is from the report published in 2009, and so on.
2.^ As of January 1.
3.^ The 1982 report covers the year 1981 and the first half of 1982, and the following 1984 report covers the second half of 1982 and the whole of 1983. In the interest of simplicity, these two aberrant "year and a half" reports have been split into three year-long reports through interpolation.


See also

Kenya's stances on international human rights treaties are as follows:

International treaties

The following chart shows Kenya's ratings since 1972 in the Freedom in the World reports, published annually by Freedom House. A rating of 1 is "free"; 7, "not free".[8]

Historical situation

In 2009 and 2010, Samburu people suffered severe human rights violations.[7]


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