Strathmore Institute of Public Policy and Governance in conjunction with the Embassy of the Argentine Republic together with the Kenyan National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR) held an academic session to reflect upon the advancement of human rights in Argentina since the restoration of democracy in 1983.
The session attended by dignitaries, invited guests from KNHCR, Law and Public Policy students drew commendable discussions from the paneled speakers: Amb. Bibiana Lucila Jones, Ambassador of the Argentine Republic to the Republic of Kenya, Ms. Chivusia Suzanne Shatikha , commissioner of the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights and Mr. Lawrence Orowe, Vice Chairman of the National Genocide Prevention Committee.
Argentinean Coup d’état of 1976, was the beginning of one of the darkest periods in the Argentinean history, an occurrence which posses great reflections to the country and the world at large.
Weak democratic structures were one of the factors highlighted by Amb. Jones as being crucial to the eruption of the civil uproar; which later culminated to the military coup. “A lot of what happened in Argentina had to do with the weak institutions and weak democracies. This is a good platform to talk about integrating state policies and human rights,” addressed Amb. Jones.
Despite the happenings of the ‘76 Argentinean coup, the country’s collective effort to regain stability and national cohesion are very praiseworthy, practical lessons to draw from to address the current Kenyan hot potato; national cohesion debates.
“The restoration of democracy in 1983 gave way to one of the strongest state policies in the world regarding the defense and promotion of human rights,” said Amb. Jones. “The restoration of democracy called for stringent measures against the Military, with an establishment of the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, inclusive of committee members from all walks of life. The state policy called for a democratic rule for the protection of human rights which all the institutions abide by,” she added.
Ms. Shatikha talked of the inherent need to abide to human rights policies motioning that Kenya needs to lead from the front of valuing the sacredness and protection of life, “Human rights and good governance are in separable. Human rights issues will always dominate any discourse in governance,” remarked Ms. Shatikha.The Argentina’s adoption of the democratic rule of law,making it compulsory for persons above the age of 18 to take part in the voting process has illustrated the importance of the founding key principles on human rights; citizenry participation during democratic exercises, equality and zero tolerance to discrimination, added Ms. Shatikha
Making human rights a focal policy in all the government’s development dialogues was echoed by all speakers, with Mr. Orowe building on linkage between the Argentinean experience to Kenya. “Crimes against humanity are a blow up of deep layers of infringement of human rights. Elements such us forced disappearance of people, distrust in public institutions, displacement of people from ancestral lands, are some of the negative heats which should be looked at,” remarked Mr. Orowe.
The session culminated to a question and answer panel discussion, with Amb. Jones concluding that the truth must help citizens to look forward, not to remain under the fixation of past, but to look at the future, seek unity, ensure peace, tolerance, respect diverse opinions, justice and it must lead them to an inclusive and sustainable development of their countries.