Rights group against Kenya security billfrom MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI – HUMAN rights organisations bemoaned Kenya’s Security
Bill saying it trampled on basic human rights.
The organisations believe the new security amendments that would add new criminal offenses with harsh penalties, limit the rights of arrested and accused people, and restrict freedoms of expression and assembly.
As such, lawmakers must reject it.
“The hastily offered security bill infringes on many basic rights and freedoms protected in Kenya’s constitution and international human rights law,” said Leslie Lefkow, Deputy Africa Director at Human Rights Watch.
“Authorities need to focus on how Kenyan security agencies have long violated human rights with impunity, and not empower these forces further,” he added.
Muthoni Wanyeki, Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn, and the Great Lakes at Amnesty International, said the cumulative effect of the amendments could return Kenya to the police state of the 1980s and 90s, and nullify recent progress on protecting human rights.
“Parliament needs to reject these amendments, stand behind Kenya’s
constitution, and pass measures aimed at making police and the military more effective and accountable,” Wanyeki said.
The proposals follow two attacks on civilians in Mandera County, which borders Somalia, for which the militant Islamist Somali-based group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility.
On November 21, attackers stopped a Nairobi-bound bus and killed 28 passengers who could not recite an Islamic creed.
On December 1, Al-Shabaab fighters raided a quarry in Mandera and killed 36 people, again apparently discriminating among people there on the basis of religion.
On December 11, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Administration sent to the parliament the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
Kenya has faced increased attacks targeting civilians since October 2011, when its troops entered Somalia in the context of military operations against Al-Shabaab.
According to human rights groups, the response of the Kenyan security forces to these attacks has been to conduct operations that have resulted in numerous human rights violations in Nairobi, on the coast, and in the North Eastern province bordering Somalia.
– CAJ News
Short URL: http://cajnewsafrica.com/?p=3032