Indigenous issues, Special rapporteur - Kenya


Indigenous issues, Special rapporteur - Kenya

Thematic Reports

Mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights

Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Special Rapporteur on:

(E/CN.4/2002/74/Add.2, paras. 375-379)

The Special Rapporteur (SR) transmitted, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on torture, a communication on behalf of one person who died in February 2000 as a result of injuries sustained during a police raid on a village. According to the information received, six persons suffered injuries during the raid, which was conducted by a combined force of regular police, the General Service Unit and the military.

In the same communication the Special Rapporteurs requested follow-up information on the cases that had been previously addressed by the Special Rapporteur on torture, involving: (a) one death in custody, noting that three policemen and an army officer had been charged with the murder but were acquitted, and that the prosecution had appealed; (b) one person reportedly beaten by police officers during a raid, who died some weeks later from a head injury which was consistent with the injuries he sustained during the police beating, noting that no inquest into the death had been carried out, although the law provides for it, and that the family had initiated civil proceedings; (c) one death in custody as a result of torture, noting that two policemen had subsequently been charged with manslaughter.

The report summarizes the response of the government to a case concerning the deaths of six prisoners on death row in September 2000, allegedly following an attempted escape. The government stated that an inquest had been opened and was scheduled to start in December 2000.

Human rights defenders, Special Representative on:

(E/CN.4/2002/106, annex, paras. 227-228)

The Special Representative, together with the Special Rapporteur on torture, sent an urgent appeal on behalf of a number of members and supporters of Release Political Prisoners (RPP), a human rights organization which mainly lobbies for the release of political prisoners. It was reported that they were arrested at the RPP premises in Nairobi during a peaceful celebration to mark Mau Mau Day (officially called Kenyatta Day), which commemorates the 1952 uprising of the Mau Mau against British rule. According to the information received, the police used excessive force to break up the gathering; all the persons named were brought before the Chief Magistrate at the High Court in October 2001 to answer charges of "unlawful assembly"; they all refused to enter a plea and were, therefore, recorded as pleading "not guilty"; only five of the detainees were able to gather the sum required to post bail (50,000 Kenyan shillings, more than most of the persons arrested, mainly students or youths, can afford).

Indigenous issues, Special rapporteur on:

(E/CN.4/2002/97, para. 107; E/CN.4/2002/97/Add.1, para. 15)

The report notes that within the framework of constitutional review, the Ogiek are claiming recognition as a distinct indigenous minority. The Ogiek people are a hunter-gatherer, forest-dwelling community of approximately 30,000 people throughout the country, found mostly in the Mau forest. The Special Rapporteur noted the following points, inter alia: they have suffered from dispossession of their land, first by the colonial state, then by the Maasai, and lastly by the post-independence state; in 1994 the government planned to settle other landless people in the Mau forest, who were encouraged to subdivide the land and register title deeds in their names; in 1997 and in 2001, groups of Ogiek challenged the government's intention to dispossess them of their lands in the courts; the court's decisions were favourable to the Ogiek, either directly or on appeal, but the government is still attempting to implement its decision to excise from areas traditionally occupied and held by the Ogiek large tracts for private development.

Torture, Special Rapporteur on:

(E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, paras. 835-843)

The report summarizes the cases that were sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The Special Rapporteur (SR) also transmitted, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, a case concerning three women who were arrested in March 2000, along with eight other activists, and held for five days in Nakuru prison, Rift Valley province. The information received indicated that upon arrival, the women were forced to strip naked in full view of other prisoners and jeering prison guards, and beaten with sticks during interrogation; they were held in a large overcrowded cell holding 39 women, many of whom were ill; when they refused to eat uncooked food, they were beaten with canes and forced to eat the food. The report notes that no official investigation had been carried out.

The SR noted that at the 2001 session of the Commission on Human Rights the government had outlined measures it had taken in response to the SR's 1999 fact-finding mission report (see E/CN.4/2000/9/Add.4). The government had noted, inter alia: actions leading to the establishment of an independent human rights commission; the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the access granted to it to prisons, police holding cells and all other places of detention; the pending Criminal Law Amendment Bill (2000); the review of training programmes for law enforcement officials with a view to incorporating the principles contained in the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials; consultations with the police with a view to establishing an independent mechanism to investigate complaints against the police; the implementation of non-custodial sentences; the drafting of the Children's Bill 2000; consultations with the Law Society of Kenya on the establishment of a sustainable legal aid scheme.

Violence against women, Special Rapporteur on:

(E/CN.4/2002/83/Add.1, para. 54)

The Special Rapporteur transmitted to the government the case of three women, who were arrested along with eight others, and held in Nakuru prison (see "Torture").