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DISCRIMINATION

George Floyd, Yassin Moyo murders denote police brutality

The repugnant murder of Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 is just but one of the many documented victims of race profiling and police violence in the US a

In Summary

• As an adept believer in civil rights and freedoms, I bemoan the increasing loss of a global leadership of US in advocating human rights, respecting policing and upholding the respect for diversity of colour, creed, gender, sexual orientation or class.

• The repugnant murder of Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 is just but one of the many documented victims of race profiling and police violence in the US against people of colour.

A mural of George Floyd in Kibra's Kamukunji grounds by Detail Seve on June 4, 2020
A mural of George Floyd in Kibra's Kamukunji grounds by Detail Seve on June 4, 2020
Image: MERCY MUMO

I join millions of global citizens to express my outrage over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black US citizen by a white police officer.

I strongly condemn the abhorrent killing of Floyd and related murders, and the uncalled for excessive police violence against Black people in America.

I demand justice for George Floyd.  

 

The repugnant murder of Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 is just but one of the many documented victims of race profiling and police violence in the US against people of colour. Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin are among many other victims of killings on the account of their skin colour.

Floyd murder exposes murk in race and discrimination in society that easily permeates systems of governance. The police in the US have been called out for the excessive targeting of not only the Black people but also such groups as religious, indigenous and ethnic minorities; racialised groups and gender minorities.

Floyd's death and others like him is a reflection of deep-rooted societal malaise that counters the imagery of social, economic and political progress and respect for democracy and human rights that the US has proclaimed itself to be.

As an adept believer in civil rights and freedoms, I bemoan the increasing loss of a global leadership of US in advocating human rights, respecting policing and upholding the respect for diversity of colour, creed, gender, sexual orientation or class.

When one commits to champion the universalism of the UN declaration on human rights that calls on us to stand up against disrespect and violation of human rights, geographical scope and time becomes non-existent, human rights violation anywhere the world over ought to be condemned.

With this piece, I join with national, regional and global human rights and civil society actors, to call for a thorough, independent, and transparent investigation of the killing and other acts of police violence, and commitment to end impunity for police perpetrators by bringing them to justice. The racial profiling is not unique to the US alone but also in other parts of the world that have normalised black oppression from all fronts.

This murder has taken place in the midst of an historic global pandemic that has resulted in a serious public health and human rights crisis. It is disheartening that while condemning this travesty of justice elsewhere, Kenya cannot proudly speak of its good record in policing.

 

Extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearance and police violence that has resulted in serious injuries particularly among economically marginalised groups in rural and urban slums have been the hallmark of policing during the Covid-19 crisis.

For instance, figures by Defenders Coalition, an organisation that works on protecting human rights defenders against persecution because of their work, indicate that since the first case of coronavirsus infection was reported in Kenya on March 12 until May 31, human tights monitors have documented 21 police killings and hundreds of injuries during violent enforcement of measures.

Many more young men have been forcefully disappeared and human rights defenders have been victims of arrests, containment at quarantine facilities and malicious prosecution because of speaking out against human rights violations and other injustices.

Journalists, medical service providers such as nurses and medical officers as well as lawyers who are considered as essential service providers have not been spared the violence and ill-treatment.

The fear of the violence, more infections have forced the sick and women in labour to keep off medical facilities, exacerbating the medical crisis now and in the future.

The June 2 announcement of the approval by the Office of the Director of Public prosecutions of the prosecution of a police officer who is suspected of fatally shooting a young man provides a glimmer of hope for justice for the family and human rights defenders.

Yassin Hussein Moyo. One of the victims killed by police while implementing the curfew directives
Yassin Hussein Moyo. One of the victims killed by police while implementing the curfew directives
Image: COURTESY

Yassin Moyo, a primary school pupil, was shot dead at the balcony of their home in Kiamaiko, Huruma in Nairobi.

Maybe the DPP's move provides the hope that the wheels of justice in this and other cases will turn to slay the dragon of impunity that fuels the never ending police violence against fellow Kenyans.

The boiling outrage against the killing of  Floyd in the US has poured into the streets, exposing systemic injustices and discriminatory policing.

The government and the American people must make the right choices to right historic wrongs against black people, minorities and open a new chapter on race relation that abhors racism and violent policing of black communities across the world.

Kamau Ngugi is the executive director, Defenders Coalition