Kenya marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

By Samuel Ouma

Haki Africa CEO Hussein Khalid

On Monday, August 30, Kenya joined the world to commemorate the UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

According to Missing of Voices of Kenya, a group that highlights issues of extrajudicial killings in the country, 13 cases of enforced disappearances have been reported in the country between January 1 and July 31 this year.

The 13 included a security consultant Mwenda Mbijiwe who went missing on June 12 and is yet to be found.  The victim’s family said the Kenya Air Force soldier was travelling to his Meru home in the Eastern part of the country when he mysteriously disappeared.

His hired vehicle was found vandalized in a coffee farm in Kiambu, Central Kenya, and was repossessed by the owner.

Haki Africa CEO Hussein Khalid decried over the lack of enough action by the government as people keep on disappearing in the East African nation.

On his part, the Inspector of General Police, Hillary Mutyambai, asked public members who may have information on missing persons to report to relevant authorities.

Enforced disappearance is described as the arrest, detention, or abduction of persons by agents of the State or those acting with State authorization or support whose whereabouts are unknown.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said enforced disappearance is used worldwide as a method of repression, terror, and stifling dissent.

The UN Chief noted thatwitnesses, lawyers, political opposition, and human rights defenders are at risk compared to other groups of people.

He urged countries to fulfill their obligations to prevent and prosecute cases of enforced disappearances.

He stated that hundreds of thousands have disappeared in more than 80 countries, and now the Covid-19 pandemic is limiting the capacity to search for missing persons and investigate alleged enforced disappearance.

The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances was founded in December 2010 following the rise in incidents in various regions and increasing reports of harassment, ill-treatment, and intimidation of witnesses of disappearances or relatives of people who were disappeared.

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