Kenyans must protect human rights for their own good, Missing Voices official asserts
The public has a responsibility of protecting human rights for their own good, but the government should also endeavor to respect those rights, according to Alexander Mbela, the Coordinator, Missing Voices Coalition.
“We want to tell citizens they have their rights as human beings and we are behind them. We need to work together as Kenyans to fight for our rights so that we can live in a free nation,” he said.
Mbela made the remarks as Kenyans gathered in Mombasa to mark the International Human Rights Day, 2022.
The official, while speaking to journalists, highlighted recent events that have vindicated human rights defender organizations for their years-long alarm calls against police-linked killings and disappearances.
“As a coalition, we have been recording data of people who have been killed by the police or disappeared by government-linked agencies. When President Ruto took power, he blamed the police of killing citizens contrary to delivering on their duty of protecting them. So this means that when the human rights defender organizations raised these issues before, we spoke the truth,” Mbela said.
“We also see now that multiple police officers, including the SSU have been taken to court for prosecution. We say the police officers are our brothers, but when they kill citizens they have to face the law as required.”
Also speaking at the Mombasa event, Mathias Shipeta, a Haki Africa official, pointed out that the International Human Rights Day was important to human rights activists and defender organizations in Kenya as it provided a god opportunity to take stock of the progress made in the quest to ensure human rights are respected in the country.
“We came here today to analyze the gains that we have made this year as well as the challenges that we have experienced. It is an important day for us to take stock so that we identify issues that we should focus on in the next year,” said Shipeta.
“We have seen some issues starting to be addressed, for instance when we saw the disbandment of the Special Services Unit. We want to urge that no other units be formed to continue perpetrating killings or disappearing people,” he added.
Shipeta further urged that all persons disappeared be reunited with their families, and justice be served for all Kenyans who were victims of police crimes committed under the guise of the now-disbanded SSU.
Mbela however also called on the government to give take good care of the country’s police officers to ensure they are in the best state to discharge their duties accordingly.
He called for better pay and better working environment, which he noted were essential in providing a conducive working environment for the officers.