The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Expresses Deep Concern over Human Rights Violations and Growing Tensions Amid Mass Protests in the Republic of Kenya


The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), through its Country Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Republic of Kenya, Honourable Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, continues to follow with growing concern the human rights situation in connection with mass protests against the tax bill in Kenya.

The Commission has received numerous reports alleging targeted abduction of number of individuals of by unidentified individuals endangering their lives, liberty and personal security and creating fear and insecurity to their families and others. Such actions undertaken without due process of the law could amount to violations of the state duty to respect and protect the rights guaranteed in Articles 6 and 7 of the African Charter. 

The Commission is deeply alarmed by various reports of excessive and disproportionate use of force by Kenyan police during protests on 25 June, including the use of live ammunitions, and expresses its condemnation of the resulting fatalities and severe injuries among peaceful protesters. As the African Commission’s jurisprudence on the use of force including in its General Comment on the Right to Life under Article 4 of the African Charter established, such excessive use of force in the context of protests that are largely peaceful could amount to violation of the rights enshrined in Articles 4, 5 and 6 of the Charter.  

The African Commission expresses its concern about the growing tension and uncertainty that Kenya finds itself in and urges exercise of utmost restraint and wisdom on the part of all involved with due respect to the rights and freedoms of Kenyans. 

The African Commission welcomes the statements made by the National Human Rights Commission of Kenya and the Chief Justice of Kenya expressing concern about the foregoing developments in Kenya and appeals to the relevant authorities to heed these statements. 

In view of the foregoing, the Commission calls upon the Government of Kenya to take the following actions:

Immediate Cessation of reports of abductions, excessive use of force and other acts of repression: Cease all actions that infringe upon the rights to free expression, peaceful assembly, and association. Ensure that law enforcement agencies operate strictly within the confines of the law and the Constitution on the basis of the human and peoples’ rights standards the African Commission established for law enforcement agencies. 

Ensure release of those abducted and Arbitrarily arrested: establish the whereabouts of those abducted and arbitrarily arrested, ensure their safety and release in accordance with thenbill of rights of the Constitution of Kenya 

Independent Investigation and Accountability: Conduct thorough, independent, and transparent investigations into all allegations of abductions, excessive use of force, and extrajudicial killings. Hold all perpetrators accountable, regardless of their rank or status.

Protection of the human rights of all those involved in peaceful protests: Ensure the safety and protection of all protesters, and citizens exercising their constitutional rights.

Respect and compliance with the call of independent constitutional bodies: Ensure that all government agencies particularly law enforcement bodies to respect the Judiciary and the National Human Rights Commission of Kenya and comply with the statements that they have issued in accordance with their constitutional mandate. 

Dialogue and Reconciliation: Facilitate open and inclusive dialogue with protesters, civil society organizations and all concerned sectors of society to address the underlying causes of the protests and ensure that the fiscal policy measures that the government adopts comply with human rights standards.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting the Republic of Kenya in upholding its human rights obligations and fostering a culture of respect for human rights, democratic and constitutional principles.

Honourable Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso
Country Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Republic of Kenya

Done this 25th day of June 2024.