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Kenya must lift protest ban and end pattern of police brutality ahead of poll, UN experts warn
The ban indicates no protests or demonstration can be held in parts of Kenya's three largest cities - Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu - until further notice by the concerned appropriate authorities.

Kenya's Interior Minister cited with some exemplary words like "imminent danger" of breach of peace and law & order issues of public at large, and seriously warned that under existing laws, all other protests and demonstration elsewhere in the country needed prior police permission, including that organizers would be held criminally liable for any offence or fault by any participant like a criminal offence done by any dreaded criminal.

Kenya needs to lift its newly-born ban on protests in important cities, end police brutality during the period of demonstrations or mass hesitation, and halt attacks on the judiciary of the nation and civil society along with many non political organizations in the tense run-up to presidential elections likely to be held on 26 October that a group of UN experts has urged and appealed.

"It is precisely when political tensions are high that governments should do their utmost to let people express their grievances and to protect their rights. Participants in peaceful protests are exercising and defending their legitimate right to voice their demands and express dissent," the UN experts said.

"Even before this ban was imposed, we were witnessing a pattern of police brutality and excessive use of force against protesters, as well as consistent harassment of judges and threats to civil society," the experts even added with. "Any unnecessary, excessive or otherwise arbitrary use of force by law enforcement officials is incompatible with the absolute prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

The UN experts noted down some earlier protests had been ruined by violent incidents, but UN authorities appealed and urged the government to lift the ban without further delay as it is under current situation neither necessary nor equivalent and to ensure that security forces need to initiate dialogue and non violent ways at the time of responding to any violence caused by any protest or mass hesitation.

"Kenya is facing a choice. We urge it to choose to uphold its constitution and pursue strengthening of its democracy, to avoid deepening political divisions and exacerbating tensions," the experts remarked.

The experts in this regard also said that there was presently an alleged climate of immunity for legal enforcement officials despite the initiating of several investigations, including one into the state of violence that followed by the 8 August general election, when around 10-15 numbers of people were killed and many injured as a result of brutal police action in a inhuman way.

"The apparent gap in accountability is often caused by a lack of cooperation from the Kenya Police Service," the experts put forward.

They spotlighted a recent incident that occurred on 28 September in which 27 students and staff at the University of Nairobi were injured when the police used tear gas as if they were anti-socials, beat them with wooden clubs like common thieves, robbed and threatened them with sexual violence like a bunch of demons.

Just after some days on 2nd October, police desperately used tear gas in a nursery in Nyalenda, injuring seriously at least three children and also in some other parts of the country protestors have also met with violent response from security forces.

"We call for a prompt, independent and thorough investigation into all allegations of police brutality," the experts told.

"Impunity fosters a culture of violence and mistrust, the opposite of what Kenya needs as it prepares for a repeat of the presidential elections," the experts told.

They applauded Kenyan individuals and parties for addressing complaints and grievances through relevant judicial system of the nation,but expressed serious concern over repeated attacks against individual judges and the judiciary in general and attempts to limit the courts' role in hearing election-related petitions by the common men in the country.

The experts also expressed concern over reports that the government had suspended, or was considering suspending, the activities of the International Development Law Organisation, an intergovernmental body which has been providing vital non-partisan support to the judiciary and other parts of the Government to promote the rule of law.

"Preserving the independence of the judiciary and constitutionally mandated institutions is of paramount importance as Kenya works towards delivering free, peaceful and fair presidential elections," the experts stressed.

"Preserving the role of civil society is equally important. Robust checks and balances are the prerogative of every democracy. It is therefore imperative that Kenya implement the 2013 Public Benefits Organizations Act as soon as possible."

The UN experts condemned fake information being spreaded on social media seeking to dismantle human rights organizations, including members of the Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu initiative which works for free and fair elections.

"This is unacceptable and must immediately stop," the experts said. "Over the years, we have repeatedly raised concerns with the Government of Kenya about shrinking civil society space and attacks on individual human rights defenders.

"There has been no response from the Kenyan Government to at least 18 communications in the last three years. The Government now seems to have embarked on an effort to constrain even further freedoms of association, expression and opinion."

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