Counter-Terrorism Strategies and Human Rights Protection in Kenya, 1998-2019
Mutungi, Stephen Kimathi
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Many counter-terrorism measures enacted by states have been criticized for violating human rights. This study sought to assess the Kenya’s counter-terrorism framework to ascertain whether the established counter-terrorism measures violate or adhere to the protection of human rights. The specific objectives focused on, firstly, to evaluate counter-terrorism strategies used by Kenyan authorities to reduce the propensity of terrorism. Secondly, to investigate the allegation of human rights violations committed during the implementation of Kenya’s counter-terrorism measures. Third, to analyze counter-terrorism strategies that can promote human rights protection in Kenya. The study used two theories. The regime theory was used to analyze the domestic and international strategies used in counter-terrorism and the theory of change approach to analyze carrot and stick measures of counterterrorism that violate human rights as well as strategies that uphold human rights protection. This study adopted an exploratory research design to assess the counterterrorism measures and alleged human rights violations in Kenya. The target population was the national security organs, counter-terrorism agencies, civil societies championing human rights protection, security enforcers and watchdog bodies. The sample of 200 respondents and informants was drawn from the National Assembly, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights, UN Counter-Terrorism Centre and Amnesty International Kenya. A stratified and purposive sampling technique was employed in selecting the respondents and informants during the study. While the respondents completed questionnaires that yielded quantitative data, the informants provided qualitative data. Collected data was analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative approaches and presented using simple descriptive statistics and narratives. Content, thematic and theoretical analysis was then employed. The findings of the study established that there were various stick and carrot counter-terrorism strategies used by organizations, Government and security apparatus in Kenya. These strategies are faced by a number of challenges. A number of those measures violate human rights. There are however, some counter terrorism strategies that uphold human rights. The counter-terrorism strategies that the Government can adopt in respect of human rights include youth empowerment and employment, enhance surveillance and intelligence gathering, stop renditions and use of force, proper investigations, uphold human rights and rule of law and public education, awareness and participation. The study recommends to the Government to adopt counter-terrorism strategies that promote human rights protection. Further, the study recommends that the Governments needs to create public awareness and participation in counter-terrorism strategies and introduce measures to build public confidence in its efforts to fight terrorism.