Our Voices

Kenya: RFK Human Rights Condemns Violent Repression of Protests 

RFK Human Rights condemns the attacks by government forces in Kenya against peaceful protesters, resulting in multiple deaths, life-threatening injuries, and abductions. We call on the government to immediately investigate these crimes, prosecute all individuals indicted, and desist from further violent crackdowns. 

Since the protests against the Finance Bill 2024 began on June 18, at least 23 people have been reported killed by Kenyan police officers. Police officers injured dozens more, and scores of protesters were abducted and arbitrarily detained. President William Ruto’s rhetoric, blaming protesters for the destruction of property, and calling them “organized criminals” and “threats to national security,” stoked this violence by demonizing the citizens exercising their right to protest. 

Lethal attacks against peaceful protesters are a violation of domestic and international human rights law, including obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Kenya’s constitution, all of which recognize the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly, By shooting, killing, arresting, and abducting protesters, the Kenyan government failed in their obligation to respect, promote and protect human rights.

Though President Ruto has withdrawn the Finance Bill and promised to convene a national dialogue, the government must investigate these human rights violations to their fullest extent, punish all perpetrators, and take measures to guarantee non-repetition. The government must also accord full reparations to the victims and survivors of these violations in accordance with human rights law. The rights to free expression and assembly are foundational values of a healthy democracy and must be respected.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stands in solidarity with the people of Kenya and commiserates with the families and friends of those who lost their lives exercising their fundamental rights.