Annual Report: Kenya 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Kenya 2010

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Police and security forces

No individual police officers or security personnel were brought to justice for unlawful killings and other violations committed in the recent past.

In February, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions conducted a fact-finding mission to Kenya. His report issued in May confirmed systematic and widespread human rights violations by the police and other security personnel. It documented unlawful killings, torture and other human rights violations by the police during the post-election violence in 2007/8, in security operations against alleged members of the outlawed Mungiki vigilante group, and during a 2007 security operation in Mount Elgon in western Kenya.

In November, a government-formed task force recommended comprehensive police reform measures, including the establishment of an independent police oversight body mandated to investigate and act on complaints against the police. However, it was unclear by when and how the recommendations would be implemented.

Human rights defenders

In early March, Oscar Kingara and Paul Oulu were killed by unknown armed assailants in Nairobi. Both men worked for the Oscar Foundation, a legal aid and human rights advocacy organization, and had provided the visiting UN Rapporteur with information about alleged police killings. No progress with investigations into the two killings was reported.

Several human rights activists, including officials of NGOs working in Nairobi and local activists based in Mount Elgon area of western Kenya, fled the country after being threatened and harassed by police and other security personnel.

Internally displaced people

Most camps hosting the majority of thousands of families displaced during the post-election violence closed down. An estimated 200,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) returned to their homes. In September, the government ordered the resettlement of all IDPs who were in camps within two weeks and announced the provision of resettlement allowances. However, as of October thousands of IDPs remained displaced in transit camps and other areas. The UN estimated that 7,249 households were being hosted in 43 transit camps in the Rift Valley province. Many IDPs complained that they did not receive government assistance in their attempt to return home or resettle. Others said that government assistance was often inadequate. Hundreds of IDP families complained that they were being forced to leave camps to return home despite fears about their security.

Violence against women and girls

Women and girls continued to face widespread gender-based violence and limited access to justice. In March, a study by the International Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya documented that women and girls with disabilities were three times more likely to be subjected to gender-based violence than those without disabilities, and that the violence was unlikely to be reported.

Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission

In July, the government appointed commissioners to the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), established following the post-election violence, and the President approved amendments to the 2008 TJRC Act through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act, 2009. The 2009 law amended section 34 of the TJRC Act to stipulate that no amnesty may be recommended by the TJRC in respect of genocide, crimes against humanity and gross human rights violations. However, concerns remained about the failure of the TJRC law to provide for effective protection for victims and witnesses and for adequate reparations for victims.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

Increasingly, the authorities forcibly returned asylum seekers to Somalia. The government did not formally reverse its January 2007 decision to close the Kenya/Somalia border, although more than 50,000 Somali refugees and asylum-seekers managed to cross into Kenya during 2009.

The humanitarian conditions in the Dadaab refugee camp hosting most Somali refugees continued to deteriorate; the camp's population was three times more than its intended capacity.