Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Republic of Kenya - ACHPR/Res. 445 (LXVI) 2020


The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 66th Ordinary Session held virtually from 13 July to 07 August 2020:

Recalling its mandate of promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter);

Further recalling that according to Article 46 of the African Charter, the Commission may resort to any appropriate method of investigation in the execution of its mandate;

Recalling the Guidelines for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture in Africa (Robben Island Guidelines) on the implementation of the provisions of Article 5 of the African Charter and other international instruments aimed at preventing torture, and General Comment 4 to the African Charter on the Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment or Treatment (General Comment 4);

Concerned by the human and peoples’ rights challenges arising from certain regulations adopted in the Republic of Kenya to limit and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, particularly impacting the most socially and economically vulnerable people;

Alarmed by reports of excessive use of force by police officials entrusted with enforcing the regulations and measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, which has resulted in at least twenty-three (23) deaths and many instances of assault and forced quarantine;

Further concerned that these trends of use of force are part of a systemic challenge on which the Commission pronounced itself through the Country Rapporteur, without it being resolved, and which has been exacerbated under the COVID-19 pandemic;

Recalling previous statements and letters of appeal which addressed the matter of police brutality in Kenya, including the Press Statement of the Commission of 18 October 2017 on the re-run of the presidential election in Kenya on 26 October 2017; Letter of Urgent Appeal regarding Extra-Judicial killings and lack of Investigation and Prosecution of Extra-Judicial killings in Kenya of 21 May 2017; and the Press Statement on the human rights situation in Kenya of 9 February 2018;

Deeply disturbed by reports of the eviction of people in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, including from the Kariobangi North Sewerage settlement between 4 and 15 May 2020 during the night and early morning; as well as the eviction of members of indigenous communities/populations, including the Ogiek and the Sengwer, who were forcefully evicted from their homes and their homes destroyed, in contravention of the country’s guidelines on evictions as well as the right to shelter and access to sanitation;

Also concerned by the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 pandemic regulations on all Kenyans, particularly on the most vulnerable, including those working in the informal sector;

The Commission:

  1. Calls on the Government of Kenya to adhere to the Robben Island Guidelines and General Comment 4, by ensuring that effective, impartial and prompt investigations are conducted into the conduct of security forces, including through a dedicated commission of inquiry, that those responsible for acts of torture or ill-treatment are subjected to the legal process and that the victims are able to access reparations;
  2. Calls on the Government to ensure that the human and peoples’ rights of all people in Kenya are upheld during the COVID-19 pandemic, including their basic rights to life, dignity, shelter, access to justice and bodily integrity and ensure that all people, including the most vulnerable groups are not subjected to unlawful evictions;
  3. Urges the Government to identify, for purposes of effective prevention and response, areas and communities that are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of COVID-19 regulations and develop a comprehensive national action plan for addressing rights violations arising from the implementation of COVID-19 regulations; and
  4. Mandates the Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Kenya to engage the Government of Kenya and other relevant national actors within the framework of Article 46 of the Charter towards reform of and accountability measures for addressing the systematic challenge of excessive use of force by security forces.

Done virtually, 07 August 2020