The Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) in collaboration with other human rights organisations commemorated the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in an event that brought together victims of torture, human rights defenders, civil society organisations, government agencies that included the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and development partners. This year’s global theme was Support Life after Torture. IMLU’s theme was Reparation and Compensation for Torture Victims, an issue that the state has performed dismally, despite the fact that the President instructed the National Treasury in 2015 to establish a Restorative Justice Fund worth Kshs. 10bn
The event saw two of the ten survivors of torture awarded fair judgments by the court and received close to Ksh.20M speak about their experience in the hands of the perpetrators and how life has changed for them. The court awards have not been disbursed by the Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya.
The meeting was attended by among other dignitaries the UN Senior Human Rights Advisor- Marcella Favretto, the Secretary General of Kenya Medical Association (KMA) Dr Peter Kigondu and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights’s Senior Human Rights Officer, Mr. Charles Kigotho. While making her key remarks she underscored the need for continued collaboration between different stakeholders in the fight against torture in the country.
“The UN and International Community have all agreed that no situation justifies the use of torture,” she said.
She further stated that the UN will continue supporting the work and advocacy by the different stakeholders to ensure that preventive measures are put in place to end the vice and that the torture victims and survivors get justice.
As a culmination of the meeting, the 10 torture victims presented a petition to the KNCHR through its Senior Human Rights Officer, Mr. Charles Kigotho asking the government to disburse their compensation. While receiving the petition, Kigotho said that KNCHR will work in collaboration with other stakeholders to ensure that the victims get justice.
He also highlighted on the KNCHR’s efforts to collaborate with the Office of the Attorney General to ensure that such victims get fair compensations as have been awarded by several courts.
Speaking at the same function, IMLU’s Executive Director Peter Kiama underscored the need for the Attorney General to hasten the compensation and reparation process for torture victims as this would give hope even to those who have not yet come out and reported their ordeals.
“As campaigners against torture, one of the tools that we must effectively use is the new law, the Prevention of Torture Act 2017. This is a legislation that provides for redress and reparations, as provided for under the UN Convention against Torture, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and the Victims Protection Act 2014. This will include compensation as well as medical and psycho-social rehabilitation”, he added.