Recalling PBI-Kenya’s meeting with the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association in March 2018
On March 11-17, 2018, the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association visited Kenya. One of its meetings was with the Peace Brigades International-Kenya Project.
The delegation included now retired Senator Raynell Andreychuk (Conservative), Senator Jim Munson (Independent) and Members of Parliament Robert Oliphant (Conservative), Greg Fergus (Liberal), Jamie Schmale (Conservative), Pam Damoff (Liberal), Gord Johns (NDP), and Len Webber (Conservative).
They met with PBI-Kenya, Article 19 and Human Rights Watch.
“The issues reported by these groups related to security, terrorism and violence, particularly during and after elections.”
“PBI Kenya works to increase the civic space for the work of human rights defenders, defending those who face challenges to their rights. For example, its workers may provide legal assistance and training, operating mainly in Nairobi’s urban residential areas.”
“After the 2013 and 2014 terrorist attacks, the counterterrorist response was violent. Families that were victims of reprisals were afraid to make complaints, because they had to do so at the police station where the officers about whom they wanted to complain worked.”
“In addition, security companies took liberties in the name of national security, even though the courts had ruled they were not entitled to do so.”
“Police allegedly employ excessive force in demonstrations, even if they are peaceful.”
The delegation concluded:
“Interlocutors talked about the excessive violence reportedly used by police officers in dealing with peaceful demonstrations. In addition, the press and journalists are sometimes pressured or even physically attacked. It is acknowledged that the country continues to contend with threats of terror and regional insecurity which makes the use of force necessary at times, but it is important to strike a balance between security and rights.”
“The Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association supports Kenya in its efforts to protect its citizens, but it encourages Kenya to improve its human rights practices, including with regard to women, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ2 community.”
In Kenya Peace Brigades International supports a range of grassroot defenders across Nairobi’s urban settlements, raising their profile in the national and international contexts. In 2019, defenders took part in advocacy tours to Europe to discuss the challenges they face defending human rights in Kenya.
Photo: Members of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association with Speaker of the National Assembly, Justin Muturi, March 12, 2018.