MUHURI, HAKI AFRICA and HURIA, are united in sorrow and shock following this abominable and senseless killings and acts of insecurity that has engulfed our country. We join fellow Kenyans in mourning all the brothers and sisters who have lost their lives and wish their families’ strength to bear this loss. We also wish all the injured quick recovery. More so, we relay our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Lamu County following the tragic incidents where over 100 innocent citizens including security officers were killed and maimed. Our continued vulnerability to these attacks is entirely unacceptable and the state has an obligation to protect its citizens.
Nonetheless the mechanisms and approach used by the state to enhance security is divisive and discriminatory and Kenya seems to have two separate legal regimes: one applied exclusively to the Muslims and the other to the rest of the country. These regulations formed the basis for the degradation of human rights and explicitly endorsed instances in which the fundamental human right of the Muslim person is violated. For instance the interference with the freedom of worship as in the case of the current curfew imposed on Lamu County residents during this holy month of Ramadhan where Muslim communities cannot access mosques for night prayers is divisive and discriminatory. We are perturbed with this instructions issued by the Inspector General of Police Service and one wonders whether Lamu County has technically become a war zone or has it become a virtual police state?
Members of the security forces have been also accused of gross violations of human rights in the course of their duties in Muslim dominated areas, including instances of torture, murder and rape, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detention of Muslim persons and communities, and illegal confiscation and theft of properties. Such instances were reported in Mombasa, Lamu, Eastleigh, Kwale and North Eastern Region and other areas dominated by Muslims. Reliable reports indicate that the Kasarani detention camp created during the Usalama Watch is still operational and Muslim persons of Somali decent are still languishing in the camp without due process.
Kenyan Muslims in general complain of discriminatory laws, regulations, practices and procedures that apply to them and not to other Kenyans. This is especially acute in the area of citizenship and immigration, i.e., in the issuing of birth certificates, identity cards and passports. The screening and vetting exercises/processes subjected to Kenyan Muslims is also cited as a clear case of discrimination. Other major economic crimes have been committed against the Muslims living in the Coast region especially Lamu County, in particular historical land injustices and the illegal and irregular acquisition of land.Its justification is always contained in government statements and this is a clear indication that the Muslim Community in Kenya is treated as second class citizen.
Whereas government would like us to believe that the deteriorating security situation in the country is as a result of terrorism, there is not an inkling of evidence that it can put on the table to back that claim. To date the police have not unraveled any of the incidences with certainty, there have been no inquests opened even in cases where police lost their lives and no protection has been provided to those who asked for it.
The most alarming feature of the said war against terror is the worsening situation of insecurity and massive violation of human rights to Muslim Communities. Random police swoops on the streets, shopping malls and homes have become routine in areas dominated by Muslims. Thousands of people have been indiscriminately arrested and held in sub-humane conditions either in crowded police cells or sports stadia such as Kasarani concentration camp. These police swoops have been characterized by harassment, brutality, humiliation, torture, extortion, rape, disappearance of Muslim persons while in police custody, profiling and targeting people for arbitrary arrest on the basis of religion and other sectarian considerations.
We call upon the Government of Kenya to immediately undertake the following:
· These press conference serves as a notice to all Muslims in the Country that there shall be a peaceful demonstration after Friday Prayers to invoke government action in addressing our sectarian plight as Muslims who are citizens in this country.
· To take appropriate steps to ensure that all persons are treated equally before the law and that discrimination on any of the grounds contemplated under Article 27(4) of the Constitution of Kenya is dealt with.
· To take appropriate action against the perpetrators of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment meted out against Muslims and minority communities. For Instance to institute criminal proceedings against security officers and senior government officers who have been uttering divisive and discriminatory sentiments while on duty.
· Completely overhaul the top management of the National Security Apparatus and the National Police Service (NPS).