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May 16 2010 | KENYA

Kenya

Government at UN Geneva meeting: death penalty to stay in law books

 
printable version

allAfrica.com

Kenya: Death Penalty and Ban On Gay Unions to Stay

NairobiKenya has rejected a UN proposal to delete the death penalty from its law books.

It has also resisted attempts to recognise same sex marriages.

These were among a raft of recommendations that the government rejected at the UN Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, which ended on Monday.

The meeting, a Universal Peer Review which assesses the human rights record of member states, endorsed Kenya's performance in seeking to improve on its position.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo led a government delegation to defend its record on human rights, in particular extra-judicial killings.

A statement by Kenya's envoy to the UN mission in Geneva, Mr Philip Owade, said the public had vetoed attempts to abolish the death penalty.

Even though Kenya has retained the death penalty, the last official executions took place in 1987.

This has led to the rise in the number of people on death row in the government's maximum prisons to an estimated 5,000 by last year.

Death sentences for 4,000 convicts were commuted to life sentences by President Kibaki last year.

Similarly, Kenya refused to reverse its declaration of same sex marriages as a crime on grounds that they were a taboo among its people.

However, the statement was categorical that gay people were not discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality.

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