Dilemmas of Crime, Human Rights and the Politics of Mungiki Violence in Kenya

44 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2009

See all articles by Mutuma Ruteere

Mutuma Ruteere

University of Cape Town, Centre of Criminology, Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 27, 2009

Abstract

This paper explores the dilemmas posed to human rights work by criminal violence. It draws from the debates on criminal violence and human rights in Kenya through a study of the Mungiki movement. The paper builds on the theoretical insights generated from scholarly studies in Kenya and Guatemala, research data gathered through interviews, perspectives from peer critiques and the public discussions in Kenya on crime and violence.

The study is concerned with three principal questions: First, why the divergence between the public discourse on crime in Kenya and the human rights groups’ discourse on human rights? Second, why have groups like Mungiki proliferated in spite of the legal and institutional reforms and expansion in democratic freedoms and human rights? Third, how should human rights groups respond to criminal violence while remaining true to their human rights ideals?

In its conclusions, the paper stresses on the incompleteness of the research agenda surrounding the discourses on crime and human rights work. It offers a snapshot of the complexities confronting human rights actors in their rights promotion activities and calls for more analytical complexity in both the practical and theoretical aspects of crime control and human rights work.

Keywords: Crime, Human Rights, Violence, Mungiki, Kenya

Suggested Citation

Ruteere, Mutuma, Dilemmas of Crime, Human Rights and the Politics of Mungiki Violence in Kenya (August 27, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1462685 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1462685

Mutuma Ruteere (Contact Author)

University of Cape Town, Centre of Criminology, Faculty of Law ( email )

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