UN urges Kenya police to stop using deadly force against protesters

UN urges Kenya police to stop using deadly force against protesters

The United Nations headquarters building is pictured with a UN logo in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

The United Nations Human Rights Office has urged local authorities to refrain from using deadly force when quelling anti-government demonstrations in the country.

In a statement on Friday, UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Jeremy Laurence noted that the organisation is 'very concerned by the widespread violence, and allegations of unnecessary or disproportionate use of force, including the use of firearms, by police during the Azimio-led protests'.

"Reports say up to 23 people have been killed and dozens injured in the demonstrations in the past week," said Laurence in the statement seen by Citizen Digital.

"In light of calls for further protests next week, we call on the authorities to ensure the right to peaceful assembly as guaranteed by the Kenyan Constitution and international human rights law."

Laurence likewise called for speedy investigations into the reported deaths and injuries recorded across the country.

"Those responsible must be held to account. Effective measures to prevent further deaths and injuries must be adopted," he said.

"The policing of protests must seek to facilitate peaceful assemblies, and any use of force must be guided by the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination. Firearms should never be used to disperse protests."

He similarly encouraged the ruling regime and the opposition to seek amicable ways to address their ongoing spat.

"We appeal for calm and encourage open dialogue to address social, economic and political grievances, with the aim of identifying lasting solutions in the interests of all Kenyans."

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