The Murder of Edwin Chiloba – A Human Rights Defender on Sexual Minorities

January 13th 2023

Released by The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) on 7th January 2023

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR)has noted with shock news of the gruesome murder of Edwin Chiloba, a Human Rights Defender who advocated the rights of sexual minorities. Chiloba’s mutilated body was reportedly found on 4th January 2023 along the road in Kapseret, in Eldoret stashed in a metallic box. The killing of Chiloba comes in the wake of other recent unresolved murders of other advocates of the rights of sexual minorities, Sheila Lumumba, Erica Chandra and Joash Mosoti. The continued targeting of those perceived to be different is worrying. The Commission condoles with the bereaved family during this very agonizing moment.

The right to life is sacrosanct and is indeed the most fundamental right from which all other rights are derived. Article 28 of our Constitution affirms that every person has inherent dignity and the right to have that dignity respected and protected.

Resolution 275 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) which Kenya is a signatory to, was adopted by the African Union under the aegis of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in April 2014. The Resolution specifically condemns the increasing incidences of violence and other human rights violations, including murder, rape, assault, arbitrary imprisonment and other forms of persecution of persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity.

As the primary State agency charged with the mandate for the protection and promotion of human rights in Kenya, the Commission strongly condemns these killings and any other form of violence and abuse against any person including sexual and gender minorities. The Commission in line with its mandate to protect human rights, and in recognition of the provision of Resolution 275, calls on the National Police Service to conduct speedy but thorough investigations into the gruesome killing and to keep Kenyans updated. This is a call for justice for Edwin and those like him who were murdered before. The Constitution of Kenya promises the security of the person, and protection from all forms of violence, torture and abuse.

The killing of Edwin and several recent reports of incidents of killings and violence meted especially by persons known to or related to the deceased are worrying and point to a breakdown in the provision of services that guarantee the fundamental freedoms and rights guaranteed in Article 29 of the Constitution. The National Police Service should step up efforts to ensure Kenyans feel safe and are not arbitrarily attacked or targeted for their perceived beliefs or associations.

The Commission commits to working with relevant state agencies to ensure proper and speedy investigations, diligent prosecution, and ensuring processes that are responsive to the needs of victims and their families.

The Commission finally invites anyone with information that would assist in the ongoing investigations to share it with the police or with the Commission through these contacts; SMS 22359 , WhatsApp 0798 849 871 and Toll- Free Line 0800 720 627

Haki Kwa Wote, Kila Wakati

Roseline D A Odede
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

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