UN faults Ruto’s gov’t over police b****lity du**ng protests

Friday, July 14th, 2023 16:07 | By
Police disperse protests in Kenya
Police disperse protestors. PHOTO/UN

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office has expressed concerns of police brutality meted on demonstrators during protests organised by the opposition.

In a statement, the UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Jeremy Laurence accused the government of unnecessary or disproportionate use of force, including the use of firearms by police.

"Reports say up to 23 people have been killed and dozens injured in the demonstrations in the past week. We call for prompt, thorough, independent and transparent investigations into the deaths and injuries. Those responsible must be held to account. Effective measures to prevent further deaths and injuries must be adopted," Laurence stated.

UN has also called on the authorities to ensure the right to peaceful assembly as guaranteed by the Kenyan Constitution and international human rights law.

"The policing of protests must seek to facilitate peaceful assemblies, and any use of force must be guided by the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination. Firearms should never be used to disperse protests," Laurence added.

"We appeal for calm and encourage open dialogue to address social, economic and political grievances, with the aim of identifying lasting solutions in the interests of all Kenyans."

In the same breath, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also expressed concerns about the safety of children in Nairobi after officers trying to disperse protests in Kangemi teargassed children while in school. 

"The reports of children being exposed to tear gas and other dangers present in large crowds are alarming. We appeal to all involved parties to undertake necessary measures to ensure the safety and protection of children. Children should never be exposed to harm, and their fundamental right to education must be safeguarded," UNICEF said.

On Friday, Kenya's opposition outfit announced that it would resume anti-government protests next week from Wednesday.

In a statement on Friday, July 14, the opposition coalition said the demonstrations will be held thrice next week — on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"Going forward, the peaceful protests will now be held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week, in line with requests from the public to include three days of activity. Let's meet on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday," the statement read.

Ruto's vow on protests

However, President William Ruto has vowed that his government will not allow demonstrations to happen, which could spark a deadly conflict between protestors and the police.

"That route you (Raila) have taken; I can guarantee you, we will meet face to face. I want to say that there will be no protests in Kenya again. The one they are planning for on Wednesday will not happen," Ruto said.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has also vowed to stop next week's protests, accusing the opposition of orchestrating chaos, destruction of property and killings during protests.

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