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Over 300 missing Kenyans remembered on international day of the disappeared

By Vicky Wandawa

Added 30th August 2016 03:01 PM

The country’s commemoration of the international day of the disappeared, a day created to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives

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The country’s commemoration of the international day of the disappeared, a day created to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives

PIC:Protesters march through Nairobi streets on July 4, 2016, following the murder of three men, including a human rights lawyer, Willie Kimani. Photo/AFP

More than 300 Kenyans have gone missing while in the hands of security agencies since 2009, some of whom have later been found killed. This has been revealed today(Tuesday), during the country’s commemoration of the international day of the disappeared, a day created to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives.

According to a press release from Amnesty international, the Kenyan government has been asked by the 13 Kenyan and global human rights organizations involved in commemorating the day, to set up a judicial commission of inquiry, to investigate and bring to justice all those suspected of criminal responsibility for extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.

“Enforced disappearances have become a widespread practice, and a dark stain on the fabric of law enforcement in Kenya that can only be sustainably addressed by bringing to account those suspected of responsibility through fair trials,” said Peter Kiama, Executive Director of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit.

“But fair trials cannot take place without prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the myriad cases of disappearances and executions.”

According to the press release, just this month, the High Court in Nairobi found that a prominent human rights lawyer and two other men had been subjected to enforced disappearance and later executed by police. The bodies of Willie Kimani, who worked for International Justice Mission, his client Josphat Mwendwa and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri, were found dumped in a river about 73 kilometres northwest of Nairobi in July.

Many of the enforced disappearances have taken place in the context of operations against perceived members or sympathisers of the Somalia-based Islamist militant group, Al-Shabaab.

“While indeed Kenya faces a real security threat from Al-Shabaab, it must not resort to unlawful responses that amount to crimes under international law and violate human rights,” said Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders.

Kenya has signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, but has yet to ratify it.

The human rights organizations will hold a public event at Strathmore University’s main auditorium from 4:30pm today in honour of victims of enforced disappearance and to demand justice, truth and reparation for them.

 

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