Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were numerous allegations the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings, particularly of known or suspected criminals, including terrorists. On September 7, the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Independent Medico Legal Unit reported 114 cases of individuals killed by police between January and August, including 101 individuals who were allegedly executed extrajudicially and 13 individuals who were killed in unclear circumstances. Some groups alleged authorities significantly underestimated the number of extrajudicial killings due to underreporting of security force killings in informal settlements, including those in dense urban areas. From January to September 22, IPOA received 62 complaints regarding deaths resulting from police actions, including 28 fatal shootings involving police and 34 deaths due to other actions by police. Of these, IPOA referred one to the ODPP, based on conclusive investigations. From the 7,169 complaints IPOA received against police since its inception, authorities were trying 30 cases as of October 25.
In July the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report documenting 34 cases of individuals who disappeared and 11 cases of individuals found dead after allegedly being taken into custody by security forces during counterterrorism operations in Nairobi and the country’s northeast region between December 2013 and December 2015. According to the report, law enforcement authorities did not meaningfully investigate these deaths and disappearances. The report attributed many of the human rights abuses to the Kenya Defense Forces in the northeast counties of Mandera, Garissa, and Wajir bordering Somalia.
In July, four police officers were charged with the homicides of International Justice Mission (IJM) investigator and lawyer Willie Kimani, IJM client Josphat Mwenda, and their driver Joseph Muiruri; the three went missing after Kimani filed a case against a police officer on behalf of Mwenda. Their severely tortured bodies were recovered from a river a week later. The case prompted demonstrations by lawyers and members of civil society across the country calling for an end to extrajudicial killings by police. In September a fifth police officer was charged. The trial continued at year’s end.
Impunity remained a serious problem (see section 1.d.).
Al-Shabaab terrorists conducted deadly attacks and guerilla-style raids on isolated communities along the border with Somalia. There were numerous cases of terrorist abuses, including the killing of at least six persons in Mandera County on July 1 by suspected al-Shabaab terrorists who attacked two commercial buses and the killing of 12 persons in Mandera County by al-Shabaab terrorists in an attack on a hostel.
Observers and NGOs suspected members of the security forces were culpable of forced disappearances. On the August 30 commemoration of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, 15 international and local human rights organizations released a joint press statement calling on the government to acknowledge the practice of abductions by security agencies. The statement also reported that human rights organizations documented more than 300 cases of individuals who had gone missing while in the hands of security agencies since 2009. The Star, a daily newspaper, reported on August 31 that more than 100 citizens had disappeared during the year, and it cited NGO Haki Africa claims of 78 killings and enforced disappearances in the prior two months in Mombasa County. In July, HRW reported 34 suspected cases of enforced disappearances (see section 1.a.).
Several members of parliament representing northeastern and coastal constituencies noted their constituents reported cases of disappearances.
There were also separate media reports of families on the coast and in northeastern counties searching for relatives who disappeared following arrest and of authorities holding individuals incommunicado for interrogation for several weeks or longer (see section 1.d.).
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
While the constitution and law prohibit torture, the legal code does not define torture and provides no sentencing guidelines for violating the constitutional and legal prohibitions. These gaps functionally prevent prosecution for torture. Police reportedly used torture and violence during interrogations as well as to punish both pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners. According to human rights NGOs, physical battery, being tied up in painful positions, and electric shocks were the most common methods of torture used by police. A range of human rights organizations and media reported cases of torture and indiscriminate police beatings committed with impunity. For example, local media widely reported in July on leaked autopsy results from murdered IJM investigator and lawyer Willie Kimani, IJM client Josphat Mwenda, and their driver Joseph Muiruri that revealed the three were tortured to death by police officers, including by physical beating and strangulation (see section 1.a). HRW’s July report documented six cases of serious abuse of detainees that appeared to amount to torture that allegedly took place in military camps and bases in Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera Counties. The Standard daily newspaper reported on September 15 that a High Court awarded five million shillings ($50,000) in compensation to four civilians who suffered permanent disabilities through physical beating and gunshot wounds inflicted by Kenya Defense Forces soldiers in Garissa in 2012.
On April 2, according to an IPOA report, police officers from the General Service Unit deployed to the University of Nairobi entered academic and dormitory buildings, evicted, and assaulted an estimated 30 students with batons. Many students sustained serious injuries from police batons, including bone fractures (see section 1.f.).
In late May and early June, police used violent and at times deadly force against demonstrators denouncing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (see section 3).
There were reports security forces deployed to quell ethnic violence committed abuses (see section 6).
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Human rights organizations reported in 2015 that prison, detention center, and police station conditions were harsh due to overcrowding, food and water shortages, and inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care. Overall, health care improved during the year due to the Kenya Prisons Service’s enhanced capacity to respond to the health-care needs of inmates.
Physical Conditions: The Kenya Prisons Service reported a prison population of 53,841 as of August, more than 90 percent of which were men. The country’s 108 prisons had a designed capacity of 26,687 inmates. While the Prisons Service noted that 10 more facilities were built to improve capacity, with more than five others under construction, serious overcrowding was the norm. Authorities continued a “decongestion” program that entailed releasing petty offenders and encouraging the judiciary to increase utilization of the Community Service Orders program in their sentencing.
The Kenya Prisons Service reported 50 deaths as of August 5, mostly from natural causes, representing a dramatic reduction from previous years, which the service attributed to improvements in prison health services.
Between January and June, IPOA observed that authorities separated women from men in detention facilities 81 percent of the time in the 46 detention facilities its representatives visited. In smaller jails female prisoners were not always separated from men. There were no separate facilities during pretrial detention, and sexual abuse of female prisoners was a problem. Conditions for female inmates in small, particularly rural, facilities were worse than for men. Human rights groups reported that police routinely solicited sex from female prisoners and that many female inmates resorted to prostitution to obtain necessities, such as sanitary items and underwear, which the Prisons Service did not provide.
Authorities generally separated minors from adults except during the initial detention period at police stations, when authorities often held adults and minors of both sexes in a single cell. Between January and June, IPOA observed that only 16 percent of the detention facilities visited included separate housing for juveniles. In the same period, IPOA observed that only 4 percent of detention facilities inspected had child protection units. Minors often mixed with the general prison population during lunch and exercise periods, according to the Coalition for Constitutional Interpretation, a domestic NGO. Prison officials reported that because there were few detention facilities for minors, authorities often had to transport them very long distances to serve their sentences, spending nights at police stations under varying conditions along the way.
The law allows children to stay with their inmate mothers in certain circumstances until age four or until arrangements for their care outside the facilities are concluded, whichever is earlier.
Prisoners generally received three meals a day, but portions were inadequate. The Prisons Service stated in August that it no longer served a penal diet for punishment. Water shortages, a problem both inside and outside of prison, continued. Sanitary facilities were inadequate. Prisoners generally spent most of their time indoors in inadequately lit and poorly ventilated cellblocks. This was especially true for the more than one-third of inmates awaiting trial, as they were not engaged in any work programs that would allow them to leave their cells regularly.
Administration: Recordkeeping on prisoners remained inadequate despite the enactment and entry into force in 2014 of the Security Laws Amendment Act. The act requires improved recordkeeping at prisons and jails. The Prisons Service took steps to improve recordkeeping, including engaging with prison reform NGOs and IPOA, and to conduct training and improve practices.
Mechanisms for prisoners to report abuse and other concerns improved due to collaboration between the Prisons Service and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) to monitor human rights standards in prison and detention facilities. By law the Commission on the Administration of Justice serves as ombudsman on government administration of prisons. It is to receive and treat as confidential correspondence from inmates and recommend remedies to address their concerns, including those pertaining to prison living conditions and administration. Government-established special committees, which included paralegals and prison officials, also served to increase prisoners’ access to the judicial system. The Legal Aid Center of Eldoret noted there was no single system providing “primary justice” to prisoners and detainees, who instead relied on a patchwork of services largely provided by NGOs. Many government-designated human rights officers lacked necessary training, and some prisons did not have a human rights officer.
Noncustodial community service programs and the release of some petty offenders alleviated somewhat prison overcrowding. The total prison population did not decrease substantially, however, because of unaffordable bail and bond terms for pretrial detainees, high national crime rates, overuse of custodial sentencing, and a high number of death row and life-imprisoned inmates. Legal rights NGOs and prison officials reported overuse of the charge of “robbery with violence,” which may carry a life sentence, without sufficient evidence to support it. Some petty offenders consequently received disproportionately heavy sentences.
Prison officials sometimes denied prisoners and detainees the right to contact relatives or lawyers. Family members who wanted to visit prisoners commonly reported bureaucratic obstacles that generally required a bribe to resolve. According to the Legal Resources Foundation, prisoners had reasonable access to legal counsel and other official visitors, although there was insufficient space in many prisons and jails to meet with visitors in private and conduct confidential conversations.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted prison visits by independent nongovernmental observers.
Improvements: Overall health care in prisons improved due to strengthened capacity to respond to health-care needs. A Directorate of Health Services was established in the Prisons Department to oversee health and hygiene issues, and prison and detention facilities added more health professionals. A program was launched to provide care for inmates with HIV/AIDS and improve tuberculosis diagnoses, important factors in decreasing morbidity and mortality. The Prisons Service opened its first facility exclusively for juvenile female offenders–the Kamae Girls Borstal Institution at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in Kiambu County, which can accommodate up to 200 girls ages 15 to 17.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The law prohibits arrest or detention without a court order unless there are reasonable grounds for believing a suspect has committed or is about to commit a criminal offense. Police, however, arrested and detained citizens arbitrarily, accused them of more severe crimes than they had committed, or accused them of a crime to mask underlying police abuses.
ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS
The National Police Service (NPS) maintains internal security and is subordinate to the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government (Interior).
The NPS includes the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service. The Kenya Police Service is responsible for general policing and maintains specialized subunits, such as the paramilitary General Services Unit, which is responsible for responding to significant and large-scale incidents of insecurity and guarding high-security facilities. The Administration Police Service’s mandate is border security, but it also assumed some traditional policing duties. The Directorate of Criminal Investigation is an autonomous department responsible for all criminal investigations and includes specialized investigative units, such as the Antinarcotics Unit, the Antiterrorism Police Unit, and the Forensics Unit.
The National Intelligence Service collects intelligence internally as well as externally and is under the direct authority of the president.
The Kenya Defense Forces are responsible for external security but have some domestic security responsibilities, including border security and supporting civilian organizations in the maintenance of order, as allowed by the constitution. The defense forces are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense. In September 2015 the defense forces and police launched a coordinated operation to drive al-Shabaab terrorists out of the Boni Forest in northern Lamu and southern Garissa Counties; the operation continued as of October.
The National Police Service Commission (NPSC) and IPOA, both government bodies, report to the National Assembly. The NPSC consists of six civilian commissioners, including two retired police officers, as well as the NPS inspector general’s two deputies. Two commissioner positions remained vacant despite requests from the NPSC and public pressure to fill those positions. The NPSC is responsible for recruiting, transferring, vetting, promoting, and removing police officers in the National Police Service. IPOA investigates serious police misconduct, especially cases of death and grave injury at the hands of police.
Impunity was a major problem. Authorities sometimes attributed the failure to investigate a case of police corruption or unlawful killing to the failure of victims to file official complaints. Victims could file complaints at regional police stations, police headquarters through the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU), and through the IPOA website and hotline. Sometimes police turned away victims who sought to file complaints at police stations where alleged police misconduct originated, and instead directed them to other area stations. This created a deterrent effect on reporting complaints against police. NGOs documented threats against police officers who attempted to investigate criminal allegations against other police officers.
Police corruption remained a significant problem. Human rights NGOs reported that police often stopped and arrested citizens to extort bribes; they jailed, on trumped-up charges, those who could not pay and sometimes beat them. During police vetting conducted by the NPSC, multiple police officers were exposed as having the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars in their bank accounts, far exceeding what would be possible to save from their salaries. Mobile money records showed that some officers also transferred money to superior officers. Media and civil society groups reported that police used illegal confinement, extortion, physical abuse, and fabricated charges to accomplish law enforcement objectives as well as to facilitate illegal activities.
Police failed to prevent vigilante violence in numerous instances but in other cases played a protective role (see section 6, Other Societal Violence or Discrimination).
Poor casework, incompetence, and corruption undermined successful prosecutions; the overall conviction rate for criminal prosecutions was between 13 and 16 percent. Police also frequently failed to enter detainees into custody records, making it difficult to locate them. Dispute resolution at police stations resolved a significant number of crimes, but authorities did not report or record them, according to human rights organizations.
Witness harassment and fear of retaliation severely inhibited the investigation and prosecution of major crimes. The Witness Protection Agency was underfunded, doubts about its independence were common (see section 4), and the Supreme Court cited its weaknesses as a serious judicial shortcoming. It cooperated closely with IPOA and other investigative bodies.
Human rights activists reported that at times police officers in charge of taking complaints at the local level were the same ones who committed abuses. Police officials resisted investigations and jailed some human rights activists for going to a police station to make a complaint. In August, Kayole police chief Ali Nuno allegedly assaulted and detained an IPOA officer sent to deliver to him a summons for an investigation into allegations of Nuno’s abuse of office.
Research by a leading legal advocacy and human rights NGO found police used disciplinary transfers of officers to hide their identities and frustrate investigations into their alleged crimes. Many media and civil society investigations into police abuse ended after authorities transferred officers, and police failed to provide any information about their identities or new whereabouts.
During the year police accountability mechanisms, including those of IPOA and the IAU, increased their capacity to investigate cases of police abuse. The IAU acting director reported directly to the inspector general of police. Close to 70 officers served in the unit, mostly investigators with a background in the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service. The IAU handles allegations of bribery, harassment, and indiscipline.
Between January and June, IPOA received six reports of deaths and one report of serious injury caused by NPS officers, which is legally required to report all deaths to IPOA. IPOA repeatedly expressed its concern about the lack of compliance with this legal requirement. Since its inception in 2012, IPOA had received 219 reports of deaths in addition to 89 reports of serious injuries.
The ODPP is empowered to direct the inspector general to investigate any information or allegation of criminal conduct and to institute criminal proceedings in police abuse or corruption cases.
Between January and June, IPOA received 1,326 complaints, bringing the total since its inception to 7,835. In the same six-month period, IPOA completed 94 complaints, 13 of which were death cases. In the previous four years, IPOA completed 321 cases and referred 66 to the ODPP for prosecution. Of those 66 cases, 35 cases were before the courts. In April IPOA secured its first manslaughter conviction, against two police officers who killed a 14-year-old girl in Kwale in 2014.
The NPSC continued transitional vetting of all serving police officers. Vetting required an assessment of each officer’s fitness to serve based on a review of documentation, including financial records, certificates of good conduct, and a questionnaire, as well as consideration of public input regarding allegations of abuse or misconduct. By September the NPSC had vetted nearly 3,000 officers, of whom 919 were vetted during the year. All of the officers vetted during the year were from the traffic department, which has a reputation for extensive corruption. Nearly 50 officers were removed from the service based on 2015 vetting. Removals based on the year’s vetting had not been announced as of October 25. Some legal challenges brought by officers vetted out of the service continued in court.
ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES
The law provides police with broad powers of arrest. Police officers may make arrests without a warrant if they suspect a crime occurred, is happening, or is imminent. Victims’ rights NGOs reported that in some cases authorities required victims to pay bribes and to provide transportation for police to a suspect’s location to execute a legal arrest warrant.
The constitution’s bill of rights provides significant legal protections, including provisions for persons to be charged, tried, or released within a certain time and for issuing a writ of habeas corpus to allow a court to determine the lawfulness of detention. In many cases, however, authorities did not follow the prescribed time limits. According to the attorney general in a response to a questionnaire from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2013, “an unexplained violation of a constitutional right will normally result in an acquittal.” While authorities in many cases released the accused if held longer than the prescribed period, some cases did not result in an acquittal, and authorities provided no compensation.
Police used excessive force in some cases when making arrests. Some officers were charged and convicted for use of excessive force during the year. For example, in a case reported by every major domestic newspaper in 2014, police officers in Kwale shot and killed a 14-year-old girl while searching for a suspect in her residence. Police claimed she confronted them with a machete. According to press reports, an eyewitness, who subsequently went into hiding, claimed police shot her without provocation. Two police officers stood trial for the homicide, and in March a high-court judge found them both guilty of manslaughter; they were each sentenced to prison for seven years.
The constitution establishes the right of suspects to bail unless there are compelling reasons against release. There is a functioning bail system, and all suspects, including those accused of capital offenses, are eligible for bail. Many suspects remained in jail for months pending trial because of their inability to post bail. Due to overcrowding in prisons, courts rarely denied bail to individuals who could pay it, even when the circumstances warranted denial. For example, NGOs that worked with victims of sexual assault complained that authorities granted bail to suspects even in cases in which there was evidence that they posed a continuing threat to victims.
Although the law provides pretrial detainees with the right to access family members and attorneys, family members of detainees frequently complained that authorities permitted access only upon payment of bribes. When detainees could afford counsel, police generally permitted access to attorneys.
Arbitrary Arrest: Police arrested and detained persons arbitrarily. Victims of arbitrary arrest were generally poor young men. Human rights organizations complained that security forces engaged in widespread arbitrary arrests and detentions during counterterrorism operations and targeted ethnic Somalis and Kenyan Muslims. On the August 30 International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, human rights activists in Mombasa asked the National Assembly to address the issue of arbitrary arrests and murder (see section 1.a.).
Pretrial Detention: Lengthy pretrial detention was a serious problem and contributed to prison overcrowding. Some defendants were held in pretrial detention longer than the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for the crime with which they were charged. The government claimed the average time spent in pretrial detention was 14 days, but there were reports many detainees spent two to three years in prison before their trials were completed. Police from the arresting locale are responsible for bringing detainees from prison to court when hearings are scheduled but often failed to do so, forcing detainees to wait for the next hearing of their cases (see section 1.e.).
Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: The law entitles persons arrested or detained to challenge in court the legal basis or arbitrary nature of their detention; that right was not always protected in practice.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary. Reform of the judiciary continued during the year. The judiciary demonstrated independence and impartiality, but there were media and other allegations of significant judicial corruption. Authorities generally respected court orders, and the outcomes of trials did not appear to be predetermined.
The Judicial Services Commission–a constitutionally mandated oversight body intended to insulate the judiciary from political pressure–provides the president with a list of nominees for judicial appointment. The president selects one of the nominees for parliamentary approval. The president appoints the chief justice and appellate and High Court judges through this process. The commission publicly reviews judicial appointees.
The Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, established in 2011 to determine the suitability of judges and magistrates to hold office, completed its vetting and submitted its final report to the president on September 6. The board proposed to the president the formation of an independent disciplinary tribunal to receive complaints against judicial officers and make recommendations for appropriate action. In the final report, 44 percent of Court of Appeal judges, 15.9 percent of High Court judges, and 4.7 percent of magistrates were found unsuitable.
There were several allegations of judicial corruption. In January the Judicial Service Commission asked the president to form a tribunal to investigate claims that Supreme Court judge Philip Tunoi received an estimated 200 million shillings ($2 million) to influence an election petition opposing Nairobi’s governor. In February the president suspended the judge and appointed the tribunal, which ended its proceedings in June on the grounds that it lacked a legal mandate to investigate the judge after he retired at age 70, as required by law.
The constitution gives the judiciary authority to review appointments and decisions by other branches of government. Parliament sometimes ignored judicial decisions. For example, on August 27, a High Court deadline expired for parliament to enact legislation to implement the constitutionally mandated two-thirds gender principle (see section 3).
The law provides for “qadi” courts, which adjudicate Muslim law on marriage, divorce, and inheritance among Muslims. There were no other traditional courts. The national courts used the traditional law of an ethnic group as a guide in personal matters as long as it did not conflict with statutory law.
The law provides for the right to a fair public trial, although individuals may give some testimony in closed session; the independent judiciary generally enforced this right. The law provides for a presumption of innocence, and defendants have the right to attend their trials, confront witnesses, and present witnesses and evidence in their defense. The law also provides defendants the right to receive prompt and detailed information of the charges against them, with free interpretation if necessary; to be tried without undue delay; to have access to government-held evidence; and not to be compelled to testify or confess guilt. Authorities generally respected these rights, although they did not always promptly inform persons of the charges against them. Sentencing Policy Guidelines, a policy document drafted by the Judicial Task Force on Sentencing, was launched by the chief justice on January 25. The Active Case Management Guidelines, developed to improve prosecution procedures, were gazetted (announced via official publication) on February 29 and implemented as a pilot project in four courts as of September. A randomized bench selection system was partially implemented within the Court of Appeal to avoid the public perception that parties with vested interests could influence the composition of a bench of judges.
Trial delays sometimes resulted because witnesses failed to present themselves, judges cancelled trial dates without notice, witnesses were not protected, or legal counsel failed to appear. Authorities generally respected a defendant’s right to consult with an attorney in a timely manner, although there was no public defenders service. Defendants generally had adequate time to prepare a defense if they were capable of doing so. The government and court generally respected these rights. The Legal Aid Act enacted in June established the National Legal Aid Service to facilitate access to justice and promote pro-bono services for indigent defendants who cannot afford legal representation. The National Council on the Administration of Justice was working to implement the changes as of October. Courts continued to try the vast majority of defendants without representation because they could not afford legal counsel. Legal aid was available only in major cities where some human rights organizations, notably the Federation of Women Lawyers, an international NGO, provided it.
The ODPP significantly increased the number of trained prosecutors. At year’s end there were an estimated 900 state prosecutors, compared with 200 in 2013. The ODPP phased out police prosecutors entirely. The expansion of the prosecution service also reduced delays in court proceedings. The judiciary improved its case clearance rate and substantially reduced case backlog by increasing benches of judges sitting daily.
Discovery laws are not clearly defined, handicapping defense lawyers. Implementation of a High Court ruling requiring provision of written statements to the defense before trial remained inconsistent. Defense lawyers often did not have access to government-held evidence before a trial. There were reports the government sometimes invoked the Official Secrets Act as a basis for withholding evidence.
Defendants may appeal a verdict to the High Court and ultimately to the Court of Appeal and, for some matters, to the Supreme Court.
POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES
There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.
CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES
Individuals may use the civil court system to seek damages for violations of human rights and may appeal its decisions to the Supreme Court as well as to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. On May 5, the judiciary launched a program of Enhanced Service Delivery Initiatives to promote more efficient and affordable justice. For example, the Family and Commercial Divisions of the High Court at Milimani in Nairobi commenced a pilot Court Annexed Mediation Program to give parties an alternative forum for dispute resolution.
According to human rights NGOs, bribes, extortion, and political considerations influenced the outcomes in some civil cases. Court fees for filing and hearing civil cases effectively barred some from access to the courts.
There is no single established system of land tenure in the country: private titles compete with customary land rights and community land, while public land is vulnerable to squatters or to unscrupulous developers. There is no clear legal framework for issuing title deeds or for adjudicating land disputes because of legal disputes between the National Land Commission, vested with powers of land adjudication through the constitution and 2012 implementing legislation, and the Ministry of Lands. Plots of land were sometimes allocated twice. The Community Land Act signed into law on August 31 allows communities to apply for land registrations as a single entity and put in train the adjudication process in which their applications will be considered alongside any competing claims.
While three-quarters of the population is rural, according to the National Land Commission, only 20 percent of citizens possessed actual titles to land.
There is no established system for restitution or compensation for those declared to be squatters and ordered to vacate land. Both private and communal clashes were common because of land disputes. The government used forced eviction and demolition to restore what it claimed was illegally occupied public land. In some cases authorities arranged ad hoc restitution or relocation of residents under NGO pressure. For example, according to the Guardian on August 18, more than 200 indigenous Ogiek families on the slopes of Mount Elgon were evicted in June by police and forest rangers; activists claimed the terms for compensation payments were unclear and that the families were not resettled.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The constitution and law prohibit such actions, except “to promote public benefit,” but authorities sometimes infringed on citizens’ privacy rights. The law permits police to enter a home without a search warrant if the time required to obtain a warrant would prejudice an investigation. Although security officers generally obtained search warrants, they occasionally conducted searches without warrants in the course of large-scale security sweeps to apprehend suspected criminals or to seize property believed stolen.
On April 2, according to the subsequent IPOA report, police officers from the General Service Unit deployed to the University of Nairobi; they entered academic and dormitory buildings, evicted, and then assaulted approximately 30 students with batons. The incident received extensive media coverage after a live video clip was widely shared on social media. Many students sustained serious injuries from police batons, including bone fractures. Both IPOA and the IAU initiated investigations into the events, but the investigations were frustrated by a lack of police cooperation. No charges against police officers had been filed as of October 25.
Human rights organizations reported police officers raided homes in informal settlements in Nairobi and communities in the coast region in search of suspected terrorists and weapons. The organizations documented numerous cases in which plainclothes police officers searched residences without a warrant and household goods were confiscated when residents were unable to provide receipts of purchase on demand.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
Domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases, although some groups reported experiencing increased government harassment during the year. Officials were sometimes cooperative and responsive to the queries of these groups, but the government generally ignored recommendations by human rights groups if such recommendations were contrary to its policies. There were reports that officials intimidated NGOs and threatened to disrupt their activities. Less-established NGOs, particularly in rural areas, reported harassment and threats by county-level officials as well as security forces. Human rights activists claimed security forces conducted surveillance of their activities, and some reported threats and intimidation.
Government and security officials promptly investigated the June triple homicide case of IJM lawyer and investigator Willie Kimani, IJM client Josphat Mwenda, and their driver Joseph Muiruri and charged four police officers accused in the case. Unless IPOA became involved, however, the police generally failed to pursue investigations of police misconduct. Many other groups requesting official cooperation in the investigation of alleged security force abuses did not receive it. HRW, for example, did not receive responses to its requests for research assistance in March from the heads of the Kenya Defense Forces or the Kenya Police Service (see section 1.a.).
In the aftermath of the al-Shabaab terrorist attack on the Kenyan-commanded AMISOM forward operating base on January 15 in el Adde, Somalia, numerous bloggers and journalists were arrested for posting photographs and commentary about the number of Kenyan soldiers killed. Most were charged under Section 29 of KICA (see section 2.a.).
The KNCHR, the legislatively established independent body with the mandate to promote and protect human rights in the country, reported that security agencies continued to deny the KNCHR full access to case-specific information and facilities to conduct its investigations of human rights abuses as the constitution permits.
The United Nations or Other International Bodies: The government generally ignored recommendations of the United Nations or international human rights groups if they were contrary to government policies.
Government Human Rights Bodies: The KNCHR is an independent institution created by the 2010 constitution and established through the KNCHR Act of 2011. Its mandate is to promote and protect human rights in the country. Funding for the KNCHR to carry out investigations and issue reports increased modestly during the year.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, defilement, and sex tourism; enforcement remained limited, and civil society groups indicated victims did not report as much as 92 percent of sexual offenses to police. The 2015 Protection against Domestic Violence Act criminalizes abuses that include early and forced marriage, FGM/C, forced wife “inheritance,” and sexual violence within marriage. The act’s definition of violence also includes damage to property, defilement, economic abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, harassment, incest, intimidation, physical abuse, stalking, verbal abuse, or any other conduct against a person that harms or may cause imminent harm to the safety, health, or well-being of the person.
Under the Security Laws Amendment Act, insulting the modesty of another person by intruding upon that person’s privacy or stripping them of clothing are criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years.
The law provides a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for rape, although sentences were at the discretion of the judge and usually no longer than the minimum of 10 years.
Citizens frequently used traditional dispute resolution mechanisms to address sexual offenses in rural areas, with village elders assessing financial compensation for the victims or their families. They also used such mechanisms occasionally in urban areas. NGOs reported difficulties obtaining evidence and the unwillingness of witnesses to testify in sexual assault cases in areas where citizens employed traditional dispute resolution mechanisms.
A study released in 2014 by the Usalama Reform Forum estimated that victims reported only 40 percent of rape cases to police. A 2014 study by the NGO Peace Initiative Kenya identified 383 cases of rape reported in media between January and May, noting a 15 percent increase from the same period in 2012. The study stated that the Women’s Hospital of Nairobi reported receiving an average of 18 cases of rape and incest daily. The Coalition on Violence against Women estimated 16,500 rapes occurred per year.
Although police no longer required physicians to examine victims, physicians still had to complete official forms reporting rape. Rural areas generally had no police physician, and in Nairobi there were only two. NGOs reported police physicians often but inconsistently accepted the examination report of clinical physicians who initially treated rape victims.
Other factors explaining the low reporting and prosecution rates for rape included a cultural inhibition against publicly discussing sex, particularly sexual violence; stigma attached to rape survivors; survivors’ fear of retribution; police reluctance to intervene, especially in cases where the victim accused family members, friends, or acquaintances of committing the rape; and poor training of prosecutors. Reporting also remained low due to traditional attitudes toward sexual violence, and courts dismissed many cases due to lack of evidence.
Domestic violence against women was widespread. Police officers generally refrained from investigating domestic violence, which they considered a private family matter. NGOs, including the Law Society of Kenya and the Federation of Women Lawyers, provided free legal assistance to some victims of domestic violence.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law makes it illegal to practice FGM/C, procure the services of someone who practices FGM/C, or send a person out of the country to undergo the procedure. The law also makes it illegal to make derogatory remarks about a woman who has not undergone FGM/C. Nevertheless, individuals practiced FGM/C widely, particularly in some rural areas.
FGM/C was usually performed on victims at an early age. According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in February, 21 percent of girls and women between ages 15 and 49 had undergone FGM/C. Of the 42 ethnic groups, only four (the Luo, Luhya, Teso, and Turkana, who together constitute approximately 25 percent of the population) did not traditionally practice FGM/C. Approximately 98 percent of ethnic Somali girls and women ages 15-49 in the country had undergone FGM/C. Government officials often participated in public awareness programs to prevent the practice.
Media reported growing numbers of female students refused to participate in FGM/C ceremonies, traditionally performed during the August and December school holidays. Some churches and NGOs provided shelter to girls who fled their homes to avoid FGM/C, but community elders frequently interfered with attempts to stop the practice. Various communities and NGOs instituted “no cut” initiation rites for girls as an alternative to FGM/C, but in some communities this effort was unsuccessful. Media reported arrests of perpetrators and parents who agreed to FGM/C, but parents in regions with a high prevalence of FGM/C frequently bribed police to allow the practice to continue. There were also reports the practice of FGM/C increasingly occurred underground to avoid prosecution by authorities.
Other Harmful Traditional Practices: Certain communities commonly practiced wife inheritance, in which a man inherits the widow of his brother or other close relative, regardless of her wishes. Such inheritance was more likely in cases of economically disadvantaged women with limited access to education living outside of major cities. Other forced marriages were also common. In 2014 parliament passed legislation that codified the right of men to enter into consensual marriage with additional women without securing the consent of any existing wife.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment. Sexual harassment was often not reported, and victims rarely filed charges. IPOA investigated one reported case of police officer promotions resulting from sexual favors.
Reproductive Rights: The constitution recognizes the right of couples and individuals to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Subsidized contraception options, including condoms, birth control pills, and long-acting or permanent methods, were widely available to both men and women throughout the country, although access was more difficult in rural areas. In 2014 the UN Population Fund estimated that 46 percent of girls and women between ages 15 and 49 used a modern method of contraception. Skilled obstetric, prenatal, and postpartum care were available in major hospitals, but many women could not access or afford these services. Skilled health-care personnel attended an estimated 44 percent of births in 2014. Observers estimated 20 percent of maternal deaths to be AIDS related. In 2014 First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the Beyond Zero Campaign, a government effort to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality. This program continued during the year.
Discrimination: The constitution provides equal rights for men and women and specifically prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, color, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language, or birth. Women held only 6 percent of land titles, of which the majority were joint titles, and accessed only 7 percent of formal financial credit awarded in the country. The justice system and widely applied customary laws often discriminated against women, limiting their political and economic rights.
The constitution prohibits gender discrimination in relation to land and property ownership and gives women equal rights to inheritance and access to land. The constitution also provides for the enactment of legislation for the protection of wives’ rights to matrimonial property during and upon the termination of a marriage, and it affirms that parties to a marriage are entitled to equal rights at the time of marriage, during the marriage, and at its dissolution.
In 2014 the National Assembly adopted the Marriage Act, which included provisions to strengthen property rights for wives. The act retains a man’s right to enter into multiple marriages and does not require consultation with or the consent of the existing spouse(s). The act contains a provision protecting the entitlements and interest of the first wife in matrimonial property. The bill received presidential assent and went into force during the year. A separate Matrimonial Property Act went into force in 2013 under which ownership of jointly held property depends upon how much each spouse can prove he or she contributed monetarily to that property. Many women’s rights groups and female members of parliament asserted the act was discriminatory and regressive.
Birth Registration: A child derives citizenship from the citizenship of the parents, and either parent may transmit citizenship. Birth registration is compulsory. Parents in rural areas, where tradition considered community elders rather than official entities the legitimate authorities in family matters, often did not register births. An estimated 63 percent of births were officially registered. Lack of official birth certificates resulted in discrimination in delivery of public services. The Department of Civil Registration Services began implementing the Maternal Child Health Registration Strategy requiring nurses administering immunizations to register the births of unregistered children.
The law requires citizens to obtain identity cards when they turn 18 years of age; it requires identity cards for citizens to obtain public services and to vote. The law requires that at least one parent’s identification document be produced for a child to obtain an identify card. Some sources reported, however, that children born out of wedlock and children born of married mothers who retained their maiden names had difficulty obtaining identity cards, unless they could produce identification of a male relative.
Education: Education is tuition free and compulsory through age 13. According to a 2016 report by international regional education initiative Uwezo Kenya, 90 percent of children ages six to 13 were enrolled in school. Authorities limited secondary enrollment to students who obtained relatively high scores on standardized examinations for students completing primary education. Authorities did not enforce the mandatory attendance law uniformly.
According to a 2014 study by NGO Plan Kenya, 47.6 percent of girls and 52.4 percent of boys enrolled in secondary education.
While the law provides pregnant girls the right to continue their education until after giving birth, NGOs reported that schools often did not respect this right. Schoolmasters sometimes expelled pregnant girls or transferred them to other schools.
In 2014 the NGO The Cradle estimated that 41 percent of children between ages 10 and 14 worked rather than attend school.
Child Abuse: Violence against children, particularly in poor and rural communities, was common, and child abuse, including sexual abuse, occurred frequently. A 2010 government survey found that 32 percent of female respondents and 18 percent of male respondents between ages 18 and 24 had experienced sexual violence before age 18. Perpetrators of physical, sexual, and emotional violence were rarely strangers to the child. Romantic partners of students were the most common perpetrators of sexual violence, followed by neighbors, while parents and teachers were the most common perpetrators of physical and emotional violence. According to NGOs, lack of awareness of how to report child abuse and aversion to involvement in a lengthy legal process were major obstacles to doctors, teachers, and other nonfamily figures reporting child abuse. The Protection against Domestic Violence Act enacted in May criminalizes several forms of violence that affect children, including early and forced marriage, FGM/C, incest, and physical, verbal, and sexual abuse.
The minimum sentence for conviction of defilement is life imprisonment if the victim is less than 11 years old, 20 years in prison if the victim is between ages 11 and 16, and 10 years’ imprisonment if the child is age 16 or 17.
The government banned corporal punishment in schools, but there were reports corporal punishment occurred.
Early and Forced Marriage: The Marriage Act of 2014 introduced a minimum age for marriage of 18 years for both women and men and voided marriages that violated this rule. Media occasionally highlighted the problem of early and forced marriage, which some ethnic groups commonly practiced. UNICEF’s 2016 The State of the World’s Children Report stated that 4 percent of children were married by age 15, and 23 percent by age 18; the Northeast and coastal regions had the highest prevalence. There was a strong correlation between poverty and early and forced marriage. Under the constitution the qadi courts retained jurisdiction over Muslim marriage and family law.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): See information for girls under 18 in women’s section above.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: According to human rights organizations, children were sexually exploited and victims of trafficking. The law criminalizes sexual exploitation of children, including prohibiting procurement of a girl under age 18 for unlawful sexual relations. The law also prohibits domestic and international trafficking, or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, transfer, or receipt of children up to the age of 18 for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances. Provisions apply equally to girls and boys. The Sexual Offenses Act has specific sections on child trafficking, child sex tourism, child prostitution, and child pornography.
The prostitution of children under age 18 remained a problem due to poverty, lack of law enforcement, internal displacement, and foreign and domestic tourists seeking sex with underage girls and boys. Political leaders expressed concern that minors were leaving school and being lured into prostitution to address their basic needs. According to the NGO The Cradle, child prostitution was prevalent in Nairobi, particularly in informal settlements, and in Kisumu, Eldoret, Nyeri, and the coastal areas. The same source indicated that criminals trafficked a significant number of children to urban and coastal areas from the north and west to engage in prostitution. UNICEF, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, the World Tourism Organization, and NGOs continued to work with the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers to increase their awareness of child prostitution and sex tourism. The association encouraged hospitality-sector businesses to adopt and implement the code of conduct developed by the NGO End Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes. The Tourism Regulatory Authority oversees hotels, rental villas, and cottages to monitor adherence to the code of conduct.
Child Soldiers: Although there were no reports the government recruited child soldiers, there were reports that the al-Shabaab terrorist group recruited children.
Displaced Children: Poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS continued to intensify the problem of child homelessness. Street children faced harassment and physical and sexual abuse from police and others and within the juvenile justice system. The government operated programs to place street children in shelters and assisted NGOs in providing education, skills training, counseling, legal advice, and medical care to street children that the commercial sex industry abused and exploited.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
The Jewish community was very small, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical or mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services. The government did not effectively enforce these provisions. A number of laws limit the rights of persons with disabilities. The Marriage Act limits the rights of persons with mental disabilities to get married; the penal code criminalizes “rape of an imbecile”; the Law of Succession limits the rights of persons with disabilities to inheritance; and the Mental Health Act allows guardians to make all decisions for persons “of unsound mind.” The constitution provides legal safeguards for the representation of persons with disabilities in legislative and appointive bodies. The law provides that persons with disabilities should have access to public buildings, and some buildings in major cities had wheelchair ramps and modified elevators and restrooms. The government did not enforce the law, however, and new construction often did not include accommodations for persons with disabilities. Government buildings in rural areas generally were not accessible for persons with disabilities. According to NGOs, police stations remained largely inaccessible to those with mobility disabilities. According to the State Department of Public Works (the Department), the Department and the Joint Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunities agreed on March 8 that the Department would form a committee to review construction standards for accessibility for persons with disabilities and regulation enforcement.
There was limited societal awareness of persons with disabilities and significant stigma attached to disability. Learning and other disabilities not readily apparent were not widely recognized. NGOs reported that persons with disabilities had limited opportunities to obtain education and job training at all levels due to lack of accessibility of facilities and resistance on the part of school officials and parents to devoting resources to students with disabilities. A survey published by NGO Twaweza ni Sisi on July 20 stated 73 percent of citizens did not believe children with disabilities in their communities should be enrolled in secondary school. The KNCHR estimated that 67 percent of persons with disabilities had a primary education, 19 percent attained secondary education, and 2 percent reached university level, while 7 percent of persons with disabilities reported that authorities denied them all access to education because of their disability.
According to a 2014 survey by the NGO Handicap International on the rights of persons with disabilities in the country, 85 percent of persons with disabilities experienced verbal abuse related to their disability and 17 percent experienced gender-based violence. Of those who reported abuse, 47 percent neither reported the incident to police or other authorities nor sought medical help or counseling. They cited fear of reprisal or of being misunderstood as their reasons. Of those who reported abuse to some authority, the majority reported the incident to community elders rather than police.
Authorities received reports of killings of persons with disabilities as well as torture and abuse, and the government took action in some cases. For example, the Nation newspaper reported on March 3 that a woman was arrested and would be prosecuted in Nairobi after 11 disabled children were found in poor living conditions, locked up, and malnourished in her home.
Persons with disabilities faced significant barriers to accessing health care. They had difficulty obtaining HIV testing and contraceptive services due to the perception they should not engage in sexual activity. According to Handicap International, 36 percent of persons with disabilities reported facing difficulties in accessing health services; cost, distance to a health facility, and physical barriers were the main reasons cited.
Few facilities provided interpreters or other accommodations to persons with hearing disabilities. The government assigned each region a sign language interpreter for court proceedings. Nevertheless, authorities often delayed or adjourned cases involving persons who had hearing disabilities due to a lack of standby interpreters, according to an official with the NGO Deaf Outreach Program. According to the KNCHR, 10 secondary schools in the country could accommodate the needs of persons with hearing limitations.
The Ministry for Devolution and Planning is the lead ministry for implementation of the law to protect persons with disabilities. The quasi-independent but government-funded parastatal National Council for Persons with Disabilities assisted the ministry. Neither entity received sufficient resources to address effectively problems related to persons with disabilities. The Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya carried out advocacy campaigns on behalf of persons with disabilities, distributed wheelchairs, and worked with public institutions to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. The KNCHR noted that awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities increased as a result in some counties, but it faulted the government for not ensuring equal protection of the rights of persons with disabilities throughout the country.
Nominated and elected parliamentarians with disabilities formed the Kenya Disability Parliamentary Caucus in 2013 and issued a strategy statement focusing on improving economic empowerment and physical access for persons with disabilities as well as integrating disability rights into county government policies.
There are 42 ethnic groups in the country; none holds a majority. The 2009 census identified eight major ethnic communities: Kikuyu, 6.6 million persons; Luhya, 5.3 million; Kalenjin, five million; Luo, four million; Kamba, 3.9 million; Kenyan Somali, 2.3 million; Kisii, 2.2 million; and Mijikenda, 1.9 million. The Kikuyu and related groups dominated much of private commerce and industry and often purchased land outside their traditional home areas, which sometimes resulted in fierce resentment from other ethnic groups, especially in the coastal and Rift Valley areas.
Many factors contributed to interethnic conflicts: long-standing grievances regarding land-tenure policies and competition for scarce agricultural land; the proliferation of illegal guns; cattle rustling; the growth of a modern warrior/bandit culture (distinct from traditional culture); ineffective local political leadership; diminished economic prospects for groups affected by regional droughts; political rivalries; and the struggle of security forces to quell violence. Conflict between landowners and squatters was particularly severe in the Rift Valley and coastal regions, while competition for water and pasture was especially serious in the north and northeast. Between February and May, at least five persons were killed and scores injured in a clash to control the government-run Agricultural Development Corporation farm in the Rift Valley, which multiple ethnic communities claimed to own.
There was frequent conflict, including banditry, fights over land, and cattle rustling, among the Somali, Turkana, Gabbra, Borana, Samburu, Rendille, and Pokot ethnic groups in arid northern, eastern, and Rift Valley areas that at times resulted in deaths. Disputes over county borders were also a source of ethnic tensions. For example, three persons were killed in January when the Samburu and Ndorobo communities clashed over grazing areas in Leparua on the border of Isiolo and Laikipia Counties; media reported that 60 stolen cows were recovered through joint efforts by the public and police. Intercommunal and resource-based violence also occurred in Baringo, Merua, Marsabit, and Wajir Counties.
Ethnic differences also caused a number of discriminatory employment practices.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The constitution does not explicitly protect LGBTI persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The penal code criminalizes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature,” which was interpreted to prohibit consensual same-sex sexual activity, and specifies a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment if convicted. A separate statute specifically criminalizes sex between men and specifies a maximum penalty of 21 years’ imprisonment if convicted. Police detained persons under these laws, particularly persons suspected of prostitution, but released them shortly afterward. In April the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) filed Petition 150 of 2016 challenging the constitutionality of these penal codes. In May a coalition of human rights organizations filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of the same penal code provisions based on violence, the fear of violence, and documented human rights violations against citizens.
LGBTI organizations reported police more frequently used public-order laws (for example, disturbing the peace) than same-sex legislation to arrest LGBTI individuals. Police frequently harassed, intimidated, or physically abused LGBTI individuals in custody. In September 2015 the NGLHRC legally challenged on behalf of two individuals from Kwale County the constitutionality of court-ordered nonconsensual anal examination, HIV testing, and hepatitis B testing as a means of proving same-sex conduct. On June 16, the Mombasa High Court dismissed their case, ruling that medical examination is a legal means to obtain evidence of crime.
Authorities permitted LGBTI advocacy organizations to register and conduct activities. There were reports, however, that some organizations registered under modified platforms to avoid denial of registration by the government.
Violence and discrimination against LGBTI individuals was widespread. According to a 2015 HRW and Persons Marginalized and Aggrieved report, LGBTI individuals were especially vulnerable to blackmail and rape by police officers. Human rights and LGBTI rights organizations noted victims were extremely reluctant to report abuse or seek redress due to fear of violence against them or arrest.
In 2015 the High Court ruled in favor of the NGLHRC in a case challenging the government’s refusal to register LGBTI advocacy and welfare organizations. The NGLHRC sought court intervention after unsuccessfully trying since 2012 to register under the Nongovernmental Organizations Coordination Act. The court ruled that refusing to register the organization was an infringement on constitutionally protected freedom of association. The government’s appeal remained pending as of October 25. The Court of Appeal ruled on May 20 that the High Court’s judgment stood in the interim.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
In partnership with key stakeholders, the National AIDS Control Council conducted a National HIV and AIDS Stigma and Discrimination Study in 2014 that produced a composite stigma rating for Kenya of 45.16 (High), with regional variations.
The government, along with international and NGO partners, made progress in creating an enabling environment to combat the social stigma of HIV and AIDS and to address the gap in access to HIV information and services. For example, the government launched treatment guidelines for sex workers and injected drug users in collaboration with key stakeholders. The government and NGOs supported a network of at least 5,488 counseling and testing centers providing free HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Diagnosis of other sexually transmitted infections was available through hospitals and clinics throughout the country. Because of social stigma, many citizens avoided testing for HIV/AIDS. According to its website, the First Lady’s Beyond Zero Campaign to stop new HIV infections led to the opening of 46 mobile clinics across the country.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
Mob violence and vigilante action were common and resulted in numerous deaths. Many incidents of mob violence in informal settlements went unreported. Many victims were persons suspected of criminal activities, including theft, robbery, killings, cattle rustling, and of having membership in criminal or terrorist groups.
Human rights observers attributed vigilante violence to a lack of public confidence in police and the criminal justice system. The social acceptability of mob violence also provided cover for acts of personal vengeance. Police frequently failed to act to stop mob violence.
The Senate approved in June a petition to establish a joint parliamentary select committee to investigate occurrences of police brutality and mob violence. The committee’s report was pending as of September.
Mobs also attacked persons suspected of witchcraft or participation in ritual killings. For example, according to media reports, on June 14, a mob attacked and set on fire a woman accused of witchcraft in Mombasa.
Societal discrimination continued against persons with albinism, many of whom left their home villages due to fear of abuse and moved to urban areas where they believed they were safer. Individuals attacked persons with albinism for their body parts that some believed would confer magical powers and that could be sold for significant sums. On June 13, persons with albinism marched in Nairobi to mark International Albinism Awareness Day.
The National Council of Persons with Disabilities and the Kenya Albino Child Support Program, in partnership with the government, continued an awareness campaign to combat discrimination. Employment discrimination against persons with albinism also occurred.