ARTICLE 19 welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Kenya. The UPR is a key opportunity to engage with the human rights obligations of UN member states. It is a review of all the UN Member States under the Human Rights Council (HRC) once every four years. This is Kenya’s second review since May, 2010. Submissions from stakeholders have now closed for Kenya’s upcoming review on its international human rights obligations in January/February 2015.
Under the UPR mechanism, each State gives an account of their progress in improving the human rights landscape in their respective countries and fulfillment of their international human rights obligations. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.
“The gap between reporting and implementation of report commitments and recommendations remains grossly disproportionate and as such, the relentless engagement of civil society and other non-state actors in the pre and post review processes is critical,” said Henry Maina Director ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa.
Kenya is one of five African states elected as members of the UN Human Rights Council in November 2012 for a three year term. As a sitting member of the HRC, Kenya must take a lead in demonstrating its commitment to the safeguarding of human rights and the implementation of recommendations it has committed itself to as a member of the global community.
ARTICLE 19 calls on the Government of Kenya to consider all stakeholder submissions in the preparation of its state report to the HRC; and to engage in robust national consultations with this regard.
In its submission to the Human Rights Council on freedoms of expression, information and association, ARTICLE 19 noted:
- Failure to commence a critical law on the operations of public benefits organisations – the Public Benefits Organisations Act 2013.
- Proposed amendments to the Public Benefits Organisations Act 2013 that impede freedom of association
- Continued threats, physical assaults and killings of human rights defenders, bloggers and journalists
- The critical need for access to information law and data protection laws in Kenya
- Criminalized free speech
- Existing and newly enacted laws that generally do not adhere to international and regional standards on freedoms of expression and information that Kenya has committed to uphold
- Reporting and accountability gaps of the State to international mechanisms
For a copy of ARTICLE 19’s full submission to the UN Human Rights Council, click here.