Kenya: Briefing paper on the situation of human rights defenders

(Geneva) - Kenya is scheduled to be reviewed at the 21st session of the Universal Periodic Review in January 2015.

(Geneva) - Kenya is scheduled to be reviewed at the 21st session of the Universal Periodic Review in January 2015.

At its first UPR in 2010, Kenya accepted twelve recommendations on the right to freedom of expression and the protection of human rights defenders. Regrettably, these recommendations have not been adequately implemented and, in fact, there has been an increase in the incidence of threats and attacks, and the extent of legal restrictions, on human rights defenders. Further, attacks against human rights defenders have been perpetrated with impunity, with a lack of investigation or accountability in most cases.

Human rights defenders working to combat impunity, to protect land rights or promote corporate accountability, or to protect LGBT rights are at particular risk of intimidation and attack.

Key recommendations that should be made to Kenya at the UPR in early 2015 include that the Government should: develop specific law and policies to protect human rights defenders; ensure that all alleged attacks against defenders are promptly and thoroughly investigated, that perpetrators are held accountable, and that victims have access to effective remedies; repeal restrictions on NGO access to foreign funding in conformity with the rights to freedom of expression and association; and amend or repeal the Information Communication Amendment Bill 2013 and the Media Council Bill 2013 to comply with the regional and international human rights instruments ratified by Kenya.

This Briefing Paper on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Kenya is intended to assist States and other stakeholders to formulate questions and recommendations regarding the protection of human rights defenders during the UPR.

For further information about the Briefing Paper or for any assistance or advice in the formulation of recommendations, please contact ISHR's Clement Voule, on [email protected].

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