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ICTJ now wants historical injustices included in Building Bridges Initiative

The Head of ICTJ Kenya office, Chris Gitari speaking during the launch of a documentary on Wednesday November 14, 2018 at Almond hotel in Garissa town, dubbed Bulla Karatasi – the forgotten massacre. Photo by KNA.

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) now wants the building bridges initiative to incorporate historical injustices and propose the full implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Committee (TJRC) report which was not made public.

Speaking during the launch of a video documentary on Wednesday at Almond hotel in Garissa town, dubbed Bulla Karatasi – the forgotten massacre head of ICTJ-Kenya office, Chris Gitari said the government should establish a restorative justice fund of shs.10 billion that was promised in 2015.

Gitari said before the Building Bridges Task Force tours Garissa county, they will meet communities that faced gross violations of human rights during the previous regimes and the latest victims of forced disappearance, extra judicial killings, sexual violence among other atrocities that they will present before them.

“TJRC report gave recommendations on how to deal with some of the historical injustices and building bridges task force must bite the bullet and address human right violations,” Gitari said.

During the launch of the documentary, some of the victims recalled the 1980 Garissa Massacre where hundreds of residents from Bula Karatasi were rounded up by the military.

Men were tortured, women raped, houses torched in the pretext of flushing out local gangster, Abdi Madobe.

The locals were herded at the Garissa Primary School grounds where they stayed for three days without food and water.

It’s alleged 3,000 people died.

Gitari  said whenever there are human rights violations locals should demand for accountability from the state adding that the government has the sole responsibility to protect lives and properties of its citizens

“We urge the Government to look into current violations because we must always abide by the constitution and the rule of law,” he added.

Reuben Carranza, the Director of New York based Reparative Justice program said the organization deals with historical injustices and marginalization and they have interest in Garissa cases.

“Marginalization and historical injustices leads to collective punishment, human rights violations. We are trying to give focus to communities that have been neglected so that they are not forgotten in transitional justice processes,” Carranza said.

Survivors of the 1980 Garissa massacre said the public apology from President Uhuru Kenyatta ‘was too little too late’, noting that the state is yet to acknowledge the atrocity meted on them by its own security agencies.

Ahmed  Duale a community elder said the marginalization narrative is sometimes misunderstood to mean that they lag behind in development but in real essence it is inability by the state to recognize the Somali community an issue that BBI should address once and for all.

By  Jacob  Songok

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