Nairobi News


Kenya responds to UN claims that police used excessive force during protests

The Government of Kenya has responded to the United Nations following a statement by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) faulted the police for using excessive force during last week’s protest by the opposition.

In a statement issued on Friday, July 14, OHCHR spokesperson Jeremy Laurence accused the National Police Service of using excessive force during the protests.

Mr Laurence further urged the Kenyan authorities to refrain from using deadly force as he called for investigations into the reported deaths recorded during the protest.

A protestor throws back a tear gas canister at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi during the anti-government protests on July 12, 2023. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT

However, the Kenyan the government, through the Permanent Mission of Kenya to the UN, has dismissed the claims. In a statement, the government has accused the protestors of being unruly and not peaceful as the opposition has maintained.

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“While the permanent mission shares the OHCHR’s concern for human rights, it is obliged to contest the characterization of recent events in Kenya as ‘peaceful protests.’ Such a designation belies the widely and credibly documented ground reality,” the statement reads in part.

“These events entailed rioting, vandalism, and the large scale destruction of civilian objects, actions incompatible with the principles of peaceful assembly as outlined by multiple resolutions and undertakings by the Human Rights Council and OHCHR,” the statement further reads.

A police officer fires teargas canisters at demonstrators in Mathare, Nairobi County on during the anti-government demonstrations on July 12, 2023. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO

The government also dismissed claims that there was widespread violence during the protests, saying that the unfortunate incidents took place in a few areas.

The government maintained the situation was well managed by the law enforcement officers, some of whom were injured in the process of discharging their duties.

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“The Permanent Mission takes issue with the reliance of OHCHR on third party sources of information. Such sources often lack first-hand experience and their assertions are often not corroborated by other independent assessments. The use of such information without due diligence raises concerns about the quality and reliability of the data in question,” the statement reads.

The Permanent Mission challenged OHCHR to be more vigilant and follow up the protests keenly before issuing statement.

Police officers remove bonfires to grant access to motorist along Mombasa Road at Mlolongo during the anti-Government protests on July 12, 2023. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI

This comes even after the opposition under the umbrella of Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition has said it will hold more protests this week.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the opposition said that the anti-government protests will kick off on Wednesday, July 19 to Friday, July 21.

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