PBI-Kenya attends civil society media conference in Mombasa with UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions

Published by Brent Patterson on

On February 23, the Peace Brigades International-Kenya Project was present at a Haki Africa media conference in Mombasa that featured Dr. Agnes Callamard, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The 20-minute video of that media conference can be seen here.

Dr. Callamard was appointed as a Special Rapporteur in August 2016. She is also the Director of Columbia University Global Freedom of Expression initiative, a former Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, and she taught and conducted research on international refugee movements for the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada.

At the media conference she highlighted, “As the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions I take the issue police killing extremely seriously. And I take the issue of impunity attached to police killing even more seriously.”

On February 20, Human Rights Watch stated, “Since December 25, 2019, police in Kenya have shot dead at least eight people in Nairobi’s Mathare, Kasarani, and Majengo settlements. The police continue to kill crime suspects and protesters in cold blood despite persistent calls to end the killings and the use of excessive force.”

The New York Times adds, “The killings come amid public anger in the East African nation over police brutality and the government’s failure to hold officers to account despite an official police watchdog that has received tens of millions of dollars from foreign donors.”

Global Affairs Canada has noted, “In 2017-18, Canada provided $83.84 million in international assistance to Kenya.” The Government of Canada further notes, “In Nairobi, exercise extreme caution in informal settlement communities, such as Kasarani, Kibera and Mathare, due to the high level of crime and limited capacity of police to respond to incidents.”

The Government of Canada’s travel advisory for Canadians visiting Kenya further cautions: “There is a high crime rate in most regions of Kenya, particularly in major cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, and at coastal beach resorts. Traditionally, crimes increase in the weeks before Christmas. Be aware that there have been incidents of ‘mob justice’ in which a crowd lynches suspected criminals prior to the arrival of police.”

The Government of Canada statements do not advise caution or raise concerns about police killings and extrajudicial executions.

PBI-Kenya is a partner organization to Missing Voices, works with the Mathare Social Justice Centre, the Ghetto Foundation and Saferworld on the Ushirikiano Mwema kwa Usalama (Good relationships for safety) projects, has provided trainings for the recently-formed Network of Mothers of Victims and Survivors of extra judicial killings, and convenes the monthly WHRD [Women Human Rights Defenders] Toolkit Organizers meetings.

In 2018, four PBI-Kenya international volunteers accompanied members of two grassroots organizations and twenty-nine human rights defenders working in the Nairobi’s urban settlements and the Mount Kenya region.

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