Amnesty International Kenya Urges Police and Military to Uphold Constitutional Duties Amidst Protests

Amnesty International Kenya  has urged the National Police Service and the Kenya Defence Forces to uphold their constitutional duty to safeguard and support peaceful protesters during demonstrations. 

Amnesty Executive Director Irungu Houghton highlighted a recent prohibition on police use of excessive force, including tactics such as water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets, emphasizing the importance of respecting human rights and ensuring peaceful protest management.

“Amnesty International reminds NPS and KDF of the June 2024 High Court ruling in Malindi, which issued temporary orders preventing security agencies from using lethal and other less-lethal ammunition (including water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets) against peaceful protesters. Justice Thande emphasised that violence against peaceful protesters is prohibited,” Houghton said.

“The High Court ruling upholds Article 37 of the Constitution, which guarantees every citizen the right to assemble, demonstrate, picket, and present petitions to public authorities peacefully and unarmed.”

Houghton said Kenya’s security organs should stop criminalizing protests and operate strictly within the confines of the law.   

Irungu has also called on the National police service inspector General Japheth Koome to release the statistics on the number of kenyans the police officers has injured or killed.

The lobby stated that the response of the authorities over the past two weeks has involved unnecessary and excessive force, resulting in the tragic loss of life and the infliction of serious injuries.

According to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, 39 people have reportedly been killed, the youngest being twelve-year-old Kennedy Onyango, and at least 361 people have reported severe injuries countrywide.

Additionally, Houghton noted that medical personnel responding to the injured were exposed to teargas, and some were arrested by law enforcement officers.

“Lawyers have been denied access to their clients, arrested and intimidated to drop cases,” he said. 

Houghton said Kenya’s security organs should stop criminalising protests and operate strictly within the confines of the law.   

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