The Human Rights Club hosts inaugural webinar on police brutality in Kenya

By Sandrine Wambura and Sarah Masila

The USIU-A Human Rights Club launched its first-ever webinar on police brutality in Kenya, on Friday, June 19, 2020, with a total of 60 participants. The webinar was designed as a platform for students and professionals to talk about the current violations in human rights and how we could all be involved to stop police brutality.

Also in attendance at the webinar were several panelists, who included Ms. Julie Wanjira Wanjiru, Co-Founder and Secretariat Member of the Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC), Ms. Ruth Mumbi, a Human Rights Defender and a Convener at the Grassroots Women Initiative Network (GRAWINET), and Ms. Gacheke Gachichi, a coordinator at the Mathare Social Justice Center (MSJC).

Speaking during the webinar, the Human Rights Club Patron, Dr. Njoki Wamai noted that police brutality was a hot button issue globally that needed swift resolution, a point that was supported by the panelists.

Ms. Wanjiru noted that for people in certain areas, the presence of police did not necessarily guarantee their safety, meaning that their day to day lives were made more difficult with the addition of trying to keep themselves safe from the police.

“In an area that is filled with four police stations one would agree it is the safest place to live in, whilst it is in the same place increased rate of deaths appear unlike in any other areas,” she said.

" The police brutality that we have seen in the United States, as well as in our country, not only during the lockdown period but also in several other instances, reinforces the notion that poor people deserve such callous treatment. It would therefore be an achievement for us as a nation if we ended police brutality," said Ms. Mumbi.

Ms. Gachichi noted that it was time for each individual to take a firm stand in addressing the injustices in our society, adding that the need for documentation when such tragedies happen is vital.

"Each of us must volunteer to become the voice of future activism, without any doubt, because our wellbeing as a community depends on the amplification of our collective voices on the issues closest to our hearts, " she noted.

The hosts of the webinar, International Relations students, Sandrine and David Mugambi, said that they hoped to have the webinar as a monthly series that would educate and integrate all voices from the community.

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