Standing with disabled leaders in Kenya
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has condemned in the strongest terms possible the offensive remarks made by a Member of Parliament (MP) against Senator Dr Isaac Mwaura, who has albinism.
Dr Bernard Mogesa, Chief Executive Officer of the KNCHR, said:
“Such utterances are the epitome of stigmatisation of disability. Stigma creates social exclusion and exacerbates mental and psychosocial distress amongst individuals who are members of the stigmatised group.
This is a group that deserves solidarity rather than ridicule and abuse.”
The comments made by the MP were contrary to Article 54(1) of the Kenyan Constitution, which provides that “a person with any disability is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and to be referred to in a manner that is not demeaning.”
The KNCHR highlights that leaders have a crucial role to play in ending stigma and discrimination and condemns the MP for discriminating against a disabled person.
In the past decade, 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, have reported cases of attacks against people with albinism. These attacks, which have been increasingly viewed as hate crimes, target people with albinism for the use of their body parts associated with harmful practices related to certain types of witchcraft.
The KNCHR has urged all leaders to engage in political debate and campaigning in a way that aligns with the values of human dignity, inclusiveness and protection of marginalised people; principles that they are bound to under Article 10 of the Kenyan Constitution.