Kenya: UPR highlights attacks on media and human rights defenders

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the adoption of the Kenya’s report under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) yesterday. Kenya was reviewed on 22nd January 2015 by the United Nations Human Rights Council for the second time.

ARTICLE 19 commends a marked increase in recommendations on expression, information and association in the second cycle review. Compared to only two states that made recommendations on matters of freedom of expression during the first review in May 2010, 10 States called for the protection and promotion of freedoms of expression, information and association in Kenya. In particular, States urged Kenya to:

  • Ensure an enabling environment and legislative framework for civil society in Kenya;
  • Protect freedom of expression and press freedoms;
  • Protect journalists and human rights defenders from intimidation, threats and arbitrary arrests;
  • Publish a report of investigations on attacks to human rights defenders through the Independent Policing Oversight Authority
  • Commence the Public Benefits Organisations Act, 2013
  • Review the Kenya Information Communications (Amendment) Act 2013, Media Council Act 2013 and Penal Code to comply with international obligations on freedom of expression and media freedoms
  • Review the Security (Amendment) Laws Act 2014 to ensure the respect and protection of human rights

“It is very important that robust nationwide interaction and consultation is initiated by the government on the implementation of recommendations received at the second cycle UPR review. This is the only way that Kenya as a member of the Human Rights Council will show that it does not just pay lip service to protection and fulfillment,” said Henry Maina Director ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa.

The UPR is a review of all UN Member States under the Human Rights Council (HRC) once every four and a half years. The process is intended to improve the grassroots human rights situation of each of the Member States. ARTICLE 19 made a submission to Kenya’s Universal Periodic Review process in June 2014, which you can read here.