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Coronavirus curfew: ICJ says Kenya becoming police state

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MAUREEN KAKAH

By MAUREEN KAKAH
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The Kenya chapter of the International Commission of Jurists has raised the alarm over human rights abuses and violations by police implementing the nationwide curfew to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The ICJ accuses the National Police Service and the Interior ministry of using the pandemic to violate people’s rights through the Public Health Act, Public Order Act and other subsidiary legislation.

Even though the lobby admits that measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus are in order, it points out that innocent civilians’ rights have been put at risk by law enforcers, making it impossible for victims to seek redress.

“We are witnessing rampant and continued human rights violations meted indiscriminately in the guise of controlling the spread of Covid-19,” ICJ’s chair Kelvin Mogeni said in a statement.

He added: “We are concerned that the country is retrogressing into a police state and the police are becoming enforcers of all laws in Kenya.”

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The ICJ called on the national and county governments to ensure police are not included among providers of specialised services, which are not part of their mandate, to deter the abuses.

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The lobby further asked the government to ensure quarantining is not used as a form of punishment and that police do not seek bribes from the public

The ICJ also wants accountability measures put in place for the sake of transparency in the manner in which resources allocated for to the fight against the virus.

It also wants the government to see to it that school children in rural areas or poor communities are not left out as their counterparts make use of technology.

“We call upon the national and county governments to observe rule of law, human rights and good governance during the pandemic as well as ensure every person is treated with dignity in all responses geared towards fighting the pandemic,” said Mr Omogeni.





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