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The state of human rights in Kenya: Amnesty International Kenya’s perspective

Amnesty International (Kenya) released its annual ‘State of the World’s Human Rights 2024’. This report reveals several glaring problems that indict our state of human rights as a country. Key highlights of the report include:

136 extrajudicial executions and 10 enforced disappearances in the country, with most incidents occurring in police custody. However, the government’s investigative efforts were deemed inadequate by international standards.

Protests addressing economic hardships and electoral concerns were met with excessive force, leading to numerous casualties, including at least 57 protesters killed by authorities. Proposed legislation threatens to criminalise same-sex relations with severe penalties, including the death penalty, putting the rights of LGBTI individuals at risk. Economic policies like the Finance Act 2023 worsened challenges with radical taxation reforms and rising living costs, making it harder for people to meet basic needs. Increased health insurance contributions further restricted access to healthcare, especially for financially vulnerable groups. Environmental degradation worsened due to lifted bans on commercial logging, coupled with prolonged drought exacerbating food insecurity, particularly affecting vulnerable populations. Digitalising government services raised privacy concerns, highlighted by a cyberattack on the government’s digital platform, sparking questions about data protection and privacy infringements.

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Despite efforts to abolish it, courts continue to impose death sentences, highlighting the need for legislative reforms to align with human rights standards.

The report by Amnesty International on human rights violations in Kenya paints a grim picture of the state of affairs in the country. From extrajudicial executions to the erosion of civil liberties, the findings are deeply troubling and demand immediate attention from both the government and the international community .In light of these grave violations, we call on the Kenyan government to take immediate action to address these issues. This includes conducting thorough and impartial investigations into all reported cases of human rights abuses, holding those responsible accountable, and enacting legislative reforms to ensure compliance with international human rights standards.

Overall, addressing these human rights challenges requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. The government must demonstrate political will and commitment to upholding human rights, including through legislative reforms and effective enforcement mechanisms. Civil society, the media, and the international community also must continue playing their role in advocating for human rights and holding the government accountable.

Furthermore, we urge the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Kenya and support efforts to promote and protect human rights in the country. As we reflect on the state of human rights in Kenya, let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding the dignity and rights of all individuals.

The time for action is now, and we must all work together to ensure that the rights and dignity of every Kenyan are respected and protected. Only through collective action and a steadfast commitment to human rights can we build a more just and inclusive society for all Kenyans.