Rights body faults the proposed anti-terror bill
MUSLIMS for Human Rights civil society has faulted the proposed anti terror Bill that is expected to be tabled once Parliament resumes its sittings. Muhuri says the bill was hurriedly drafted under the influence of emotions, a sense of loss of life and pain, terming the timing wrong. Muhuri argues that despite the bill’s improvement from the original one, which was first introduced in the House in 2003, it still contains numerous flaws.
Speaking yesterday in Nairobi during a one-day workshop convened to deliberate on the approach to undertake in preventing the bill from being tabled, the leaders said it will deny people their right to administrative justice. In attendance at the workshop was nominated MPs Mohammed Dor and Shakeel Abdalla, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights commissioner Laurence Mute and human rights lawyer Mbugua Mureithi.
Former KNCHR commissioner Omar Hassan sought to demystify the wide misconception that the fight against terrorism is war against Islam. He, however, appealed for time to create room for learning, interventions and research by all players involved in the drafting of the bill. “There is enormous public disinformation and doublespeak from leaders who claim to advocate for constitutional implementation,” Omar said. He called for the creation of a framework that will enhance the adherence to the rule of law adding that the bill alone will not restore the country’s security overnight.
Lashing out at the government’s constant violation of human rights, Omar called for comprehensive reforms of the police force as well as ensuring accountability and social responsibility. Muhuri argues that, if enacted into law, the bill will deny people their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, which will in turn undermine democracy.
Mute faulted the government for breaching the constitutional provision on consultation prior to tabling any bill in Parliament. He called for a comprehensive approach in enacting laws saying the public needs to be part of the process to enable them own and adhere to them. “The counter-terrorism measures being undertaken by the government are encouraging impunity,” Mute said and urged the state to focus on victims, as opposed to the acts alone.
Mureithi attributed the recent spate of bombing attacks in the country to the incursion into Somalia by the Kenya Defense Forces. “Prior to Kenya’s entry on the war front with al shabaab, the group had not publicly declared Kenya a legitimate target,” he said.