Annual Report: Kenya 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Kenya 2013

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International justice

In January, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to proceed to trial in cases against William Ruto, Joshua arap Sang, Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during post election violence in Kenya in 2007-2008. Uhuru Kenyatta, currently the Deputy Prime Minister, and William Ruto, a former government minister had declared they would be candidates in Kenya's 2013 elections. The Kenyan government appeared to try to undermine the ICC's jurisdiction over the four cases. The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) passed a resolution in April urging the East African Community Council of Ministers to request the transfer of the ICC cases to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). However, the East African court does not have jurisdiction over crimes under international law. In July, the ICC announced that the trials would commence in April 2013.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

By the end of 2012 Kenya was hosting in excess of 600,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, the vast majority of whom were from Somalia. Most were living at the Dadaab refugee camps. The process for registration of new arrivals in Dadaab remained suspended, as did the transportation of asylum-seekers from the border to Dadaab – which meant people had to walk about 100km to seek asylum. Police continued to abuse refugees in the Dadaab camps. In May, Kenyan police arbitrarily arrested, detained, and beat refugees after an attack on a police vehicle in the camps. Police were purportedly searching for explosives.

Senior government officials repeatedly threatened to close the Dadaab refugee camps and forcibly return all residents to southern Somalia throughout the year, describing Dadaab as a “security threat” and claiming that areas of southern Somalia were safe. Amnesty International and other human rights groups disputed this (see Somalia entry).

In addition to those living in refugee camps in Kenya, some 55,000 refugees and asylum-seekers were registered with UNHCR in Nairobi and other urban centres.

In December, the Kenyan government announced that all refugees and asylum-seekers in urban areas should be relocated to refugee camps. UNHCR expressed serious concern and called on the government not to implement the policy.

Internally displaced people

The Internally Displaced Persons Act was passed by Parliament in October. The Act requires the government and others to protect people against factors which could cause them to become displaced, and requires the government to put in place structures to assist those who become internally displaced.

Housing rights – forced evictions

  • On 28 January, police forcibly evicted scores of people in Mukuru Kwa N'jenga in the east of Nairobi from their homes. Three people died in the process. One woman was electrocuted by a live power cable that fell during the eviction and another woman was killed by a stray bullet. The third person, a child, was killed during a stampede by anti-eviction demonstrators fleeing from police.
  • In August, people from 70 homes were forcibly evicted from Kiamaiko informal settlement in Nairobi, in spite of an ongoing court case to settle ownership of the land.
  • Deep Sea community in Nairobi remained at risk of forced eviction to make way for a road development project by the Kenya Road Authority (KURA). While KURA was developing a relocation plan for affected residents, community members said that they had not been adequately consulted about the plan and that it did not accurately reflect the number of people due to be affected by the eviction.

A Private Member's Bill providing guidelines for evictions and prohibiting forced evictions was tabled in Parliament in October. However, the Bill was not debated by the end of the year. In October, the Ministry of Lands appointed a new taskforce to review a similar Bill which the Ministry had drafted in 2011 but which had not been tabled in Parliament.