A group of Kenyan woman activists have stepped up their campaign to have the extra judicial killings of their male relatives openly acknowledged.
Breaking the silence on Kenya’s extra judicial killings, was the aim of the press conference organised this Tuesday eighth of March in Nairobi, by an affiliation of three Kenyan human rights organisations: the World March of Women (WMM); the Centre for Social Reform (SOREC) and the Release Political Prisoners (RPP) pressure group.
The event coincided with International Woman’s day, when people across the world celebrate the successes that the ongoing fight for women’s emancipation has produced over the last century.
The women at the press conference were not there to celebrate but rather to speak out as mothers, daughters and sisters about the disappearances and killings of their relatives at the hands of Kenyan police.
“Behind every extrajudicial killing there is somebody left to weep” said Beatrice Kamau, member of WMM and organiser of the event.
According to a 2008 report by the Kenyan National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC), the number of young men killed by the Kenyan police because of their supposed ties to the criminal organisation Mungiki was at that time around 8000 while those that have never been found 4000.
The findings of the KNHRC report reflected a similar report released the year before by the Oscar Foundation that examined the execution of young men that took place between 2002 and 2007.
Shortly after the Oscar report was published its founder Oscar Kingara, a lawyer campaigning against extrajudicial killings, was assassinated.
The international community has raised the question of extrajudicial killings in Kenya on different occasions yet little appears to have been done to effectively stop it.
In 2009 professor Phillip Alston, special rapporteur for the United Nations on Kenya’s extrajudicial killings, called for massive reforms in the police sector.
Just last month photographs were published in one of Kenya’s daily newspapers of police executing two suspects in broad daylight on a crowded Kenyan highway.
During Tuesday’s conference, women stood in single file holding candles as one by one with tears in their eyes, they told the story of how a relative had disappeared.
A statement read by the chairman of the Kenyan Centre for Social Reform, Alice Wahome, underlined how after the introduction of the new Kenyan constitution in August 2010, high-ranking police had made statements claiming they would end the climate of impunity that had reigned in the country for so long.
Wahome, a politically engaged lawyer, said the movement sought to put a face to what was happening in order to allow the victims to seek justice and reparations from those who had committed these acts.
Although members of the Kenyan media were present at the conference, the following day, the story went largely unreported in any of the country’s main news outlets.
By Katy Fentress
Photos by Silvia Gioiello
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2 thoughts on “Kenya:women speaks against extra judicial killings”
Thank you Africa News for highlighting this story. I am glad you also noticed the fact that this story was ignored by the mainstream media. This is sad but we are not surprised.
Thank you for breaking the silence on this story. It is so sad that impunity is still very much alive in Africa. People MUST speak out and join forces to end it. The real beauty of peace begins with justice.
African Tunes of Peace