HRW calls on Kenyan authorities to stop branding protesters as “terrorists”

HRW calls on Kenyan authorities to stop branding protesters as "terrorists"

The NGO asks to investigate police abuses during protests

July 18 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked the Kenyan authorities to stop classifying protesters as “terrorists”, and they have called to respect the Human Rights of assembly and peaceful protest.

“The Kenyan authorities are bound by national and international human rights laws to protect the civil right to peaceful assembly and protest. Police should adhere to the principles of necessity and proportionality in response to any kind of violence during protests.” , said HRW’s chief researcher on Africa, Otsieno Namwaya.

The country’s main opposition coalition, Azimio, resumed street protests on July 7 after being suspended in May due to talks with the government, called by the rising cost of living and discontent related to the presidential elections in August 2022.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga proclaimed himself the winner of the election despite the fact that the Independent Electoral Commission declared the current president, William Ruto, the winner, who was sworn in in September 2022.

Continuing in his line of protests against the electoral results, Odinga requested the publication of the data to be subjected to an audit.

HRW has denounced that on July 14, the secretary of the commerce cabinet, Moses Kuria, assured that Odinga would die on July 19 during the resumption of the demonstrations and assured that the right to “riots and destruction of property” does not exist. .

In addition, Ruto declared a day later that they would not allow people to use “certain provisions of the Constitution to cause chaos and anarchy”, and assured that they would “mobilize all available resources to protect the interests and lives of every Kenyan”.

Despite Kenyan law prohibiting police and other officials from illegalizing demonstrations, Police Inspector General Japhet Koome and other senior police officials have called the protests illegal and have vowed to respond forcefully to the protests. protesters.

The protests, mostly peaceful, ended up turning violent after the use of tear gas by the Police, who even launched it against houses, thus causing the death of children by suffocation, according to the organization.

HRW registered in May the deaths of at least 16 people during the repression of the protests, in which the forces of order have also used live ammunition and beaten up.

In addition to not investigating these events, members of the opposition and pro-Human Rights groups have denounced that the Government has hired people to attack demonstrators and destroy their property; Odinga has even claimed to be the victim of assassination attempts.

Since the start of the protests, the Police have reported the arrest of more than 300 people.

“The Kenyan authorities must take the necessary steps to investigate and prosecute the officers involved in police abuses during the protests since March (…). The crying of the victims and the families of those who have died at the hands of the Police during protests should not be ignored,” HRW concluded.

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Written by Editor TLN

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