PRESS RELEASE ON SHAKAHOLA MASSACRE
The National Gender and Equality Commission expresses its profound sadness at the tragic events that have taken place at the Good News International Ministries in Malindi, Kenya. The unfolding reports of over 100 exhumed bodies, with the majority being women and children, are a stark reminder of the dangerous consequences that can arise from ignorance and manipulation by religious leaders.
This heinous act was exacerbated by poverty and vulnerable groups such as women, children, and the elderly were particularly affected. The Commission urges community leaders and local administration to remain vigilant against such abuses and to ensure that the rights of all members of society, especially children, are upheld and protected.
It is unacceptable for religion to be used to deny constitutionally guaranteed rights to women, children, persons with disabilities, and the older members of society. While freedom of worship is protected by the Constitution of Kenya,2010 it must not be used to perpetrate human rights violations.
The Commission supports fully government's efforts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the Shakahola Massacre. Additionally, we call for measures to regulate religious institutions to prevent them from misleading people and committing egregious human rights violations.
We call on all Kenyans to remain vigilant and to report any incidents of human rights violations, especially those that occur within religious institutions. We must work together to prevent the recurrence of such unfortunate incidents.
Finally, the Commission extends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims. We stand with them during this difficult time and urge all Kenyans to join us in promoting human dignity, equality, and justice for all.
DR. JOYCE M. MUTINDA PhD, EBS