Cases of human rights violations in Kenya have increased in the first quarter of 2018 compared to last year, with the number of extra-judicial killings in major towns rising.
A report by a rights agency reveals there was a rise in extra-judicial killings mainly in the slums of Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru.
According to the report by Haki Africa, the number of extra-judicial killings went up drastically to over 65 during the first quarter of 2018.
“In the Coast region, there were also several cases of disappearances with majority being male youth,” said Collins Owuor, a director at Haki Africa.
The report shows that during the first quarter of 2018, there were 1,895 cases of human rights violations reported across the country compared to 1,383 in the last quarter of 2017.
“We are gravely concerned and we are hereby raising an alarm on the current state of worsening human rights situation in the country. Police are failing to address insecurity and at the same time operating with impunity, violating fundamental freedoms of the people,” said Mr Owuor.
More than 340 cases of sexual violence were reported. Defilement, rape and incest cases were reported mainly in the Coast, Western and Northern Kenya.
Labour-related abuses topped the list with 687 across the country.
Cases included non-payment of dues, harassment at work, lack of contracts and unfair dismissal.
The human rights organisation also raised an alarm over an increase in the number of criminal gangs attributed to the high number of unemployed youth.
In Mombasa County alone, it is reported that there are over 40 criminal gangs in different parts of the county,” said Yusuf Aboubakar, also a director at Haki Africa.
According to Mr Aboubakar, the gangs are formed by youth who believe they do not have a future and they have to engage in crime for survival.
“So far there are no plans or policies set aside to deal with unemployment from both the government and the opposition. We would like to call upon the two entities to put aside their 2022 plans and deliver what they promised Kenyans,” he said.
Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid says due to the high numbers of criminal gangs, police officers are getting overwhelmed and there is need for reinforcement from the headquarters.
“This has also led to the increase in number of mob justice cases because the police officers on the ground are unable to handle the cases” said Mr Khalid.
The report further stated that there was an increase in interference of media and press freedom.