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Report blames State for rights abuses

By | March 15th 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Peter Opiyo

Kenya is among countries that have registered little progress in protection of human rights.

According to a human rights report by the US Department of State that documented rights abuses that occurred in 2008 and last year, no concrete actions had been taken against the violators.

Among the violations documented in the report are extra-judicial killings on the part of State security agents, with the Government taking little action against the perpetrators.

"There were several reports that the Government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings, included politically motivated killings, during the year. The Government took only limited action in enforcing the law against security forces suspected of unlawfully killing citizens," says the report.

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The Country Report on Human Rights Practices, further quotes from findings by Prof Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, who visited the country in February last year and documented instances of human rights violations.

In Alston’s report it is documented that "the police in Kenya frequently execute individuals and that a climate of impunity prevails".

The report refers to last March’s cold blooded murder of Oscar King’ara, the executive director of Oscar Foundation Free Legal Aid Clinic, and Paul Oulu, a programme co-ordinator at the same organisation as some of the instances of extra-judicial killings.

The report points out that police intimidated witnesses to the killings and four of them went into exile. The report picks out Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s plea for help to unravel the faces behind the killings.

"The Prime Minister requested international assistance to investigate the murders, but the minister for Foreign Affairs subsequently rejected such assistance, and no credible investigation had been conducted by year’s end," the report states.

Also being cited by the report is the Independent Medico-Legal Unit’s (IMLU) findings that police killed numerous suspects during the year.

According to the report IMLU documented 33 alleged extra-judicial killings by police officers, the majority of whom were suspects killed by police

during arrests.

"In October police killed five persons travelling in a "matatu" in Githurai, Nairobi, claiming they were armed members of Mungiki. Residents of the area stated that the five were matatu operation.

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