Kenyans denied rights to life, justice and health: Report

Amnesty International Executive Director Irungu Houghton gives his presentation before the Senate ADHOC Committee investigating the Shakahola deaths at Parliament on July 5, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The latest report by Amnesty International has implicated the Kenyan government for either committing or staying silent on some of the worst human rights violations against its citizens.

According to the report, rights to life, health, justice, privacy, economic and social rights in addition to freedom of expression are some of the provisions Kenyans were denied from 2023 to the present.

In the report, police brutality stood out as excessive force was used to counter Azimio’s anti-government protests while extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances linger on despite President Ruto’s promise to end it.

“Between March and July, police used excessive force to disrupt and prevent protests against the increasing cost of living and alleged 2022 electoral irregularities. According to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, 57 people were killed during the demonstrations. Amnesty International verified 30 of these cases,” reads the report.

As an impediment to Kenyans’ enjoyment of economic and social rights, the contested Finance Act 2023 was mentioned after it slid in new taxes and levies thus exerting an unprecedented financial burden on Kenyans.

Concerns were further raised about the privacy of the data mined from Kenyans in the current fast-paced digital space.

This was concerning the seven thousand shillings World Coin iris scans debacle that happened in September and hacking attempts targeting government installations in July.

The report further questioned the government's decision to remove the five-year ban on logging of commercial trees at a time when five million people, including refugees, are at risk of acute food insecurity due to extreme climate patterns.

Other concerns raised by Amnesty International include those around the LGBTQ, the Shakahola Massacre, and the introduction of a bill that seeks to do away with the death penalty in the country.