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United Nations voices concern over police brutality during maandamano

The United Nations Human Rights Office has expressed concern over the police brutality against demonstrators in the last opposition-led demonstrations in Kenya.

Spokesperson Jeremy Laurence especially noted the widespread violence and allegations of unnecessary or disproportionate use of force, including the use of firearms by police during the protests.

“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,” began Mr Laurence.

Ahead of the three-day demonstrations set to take place from Wednesday, July 19, 2023, Mr Laurence called on law enforcement authorities to ensure the right to peacefully assembly as guaranteed in the Kenyan Constitution and the International Human Rights law takes place.

Also read: What the Church has advised Raila ahead of maandamano promax

“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,” added Mr Laurence.

Further, he said that calm and open dialogue should be encouraged to address the social, economical and political grievances; and the identification of lasting solutions in the interests of Kenyans should be done.

According to media reports in Kenya, nine demonstrators were killed across the country in areas such as Mlolongo and Kitengela. Most of them were killed by bullets fired by police.

Additionally, reports had it that police fired teargas canisters into a school in Kangemi, resulting in the hospitalization of 51 young students with various health complications, including breathing problems.

Currently, there is a standoff between the government and the opposition, with the government warning anyone found to be demonstrating on the streets of dire consequences.

“If there are demonstrations, we will confront them. Extra-constitutional means cannot be used to seize power in Kenya. We have a constitution, we have elections and the Kenyan people exercised their right to vote last year, electing their leaders. If you aspire for leadership, wait until 2027 when we will meet you and defeat you again. I will stand firm. Kenya does not belong to protests,” said President Ruto.

Also read: ‘Kenya is not for maandamano!’ Ruto to Raila on anti-government protest