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Military on the spot over human rights

16 September 2013, 17:01

Nairobi - The United Nations Working Group cited Kenya as one of countries in the continent where respect for international human rights and humanitarian laws may not be recognized in the private security and military sectors.

“Not all countries take into account any criminal or disciplinary records or reports of human rights violations committed by potential security personnel,” said Anton Katz, who currently heads the Group.

“None of the countries has legislation specifically requiring security personnel to be adequately trained in international humanitarian law and human rights law,” the human rights expert noted.

Katz mentioned Kenya alongside such countries as Botswana, Ghana, the Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

“Given the absence of a legally binding international instrument, there is little guidance on how to effectively address the phenomenon of the privatization of security. This has resulted in divergent regulatory approaches at the national level creating regulatory gaps, which by its very nature may be a potential source of human rights violations.”

Katz recommended, “There is a critical need to establish minimum international standards for States to regulate the activities of private security personnel, particularly those engaged in cross border activities in pursuing the realization of this fundamental human right.”

While Kenyan leaders, including President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy William Ruto, face crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague following the violence that followed the disputed elections in 2007/08, the military was adjudged to have “performed its duty well” during the problems.

Nevertheless, there have been serious allegations of human rights violations, most recently while conducting counter-insurgency operations in the Mt Elgon area and also in the district of Mander Central.

– CAJ News



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