As Kenya approaches elections in 2012, the country is still dealing with the aftermath of political violence after the 2007 presidential election, which resulted in more than 1,000 deaths and the displacement of hundreds of thousands. In 2010, Kenyans peacefully enacted a new constitution that reformed government structures and strengthened human rights protections and the government began important police and judicial reforms. However, Kenya has still not overcome its culture of impunity. Its failure to hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable led to the International Criminal Court indictment of 6 Kenyans who are now facing judgment in the Hague.
Kenya is in a period of transition with a coalition government formed in response to widespread political and ethnic violence following the disputed 2007 presidential elections. In August 2010, Kenyans voted overwhelmingly for a new constitution which better recognizes and protects human rights, including — for the first time — economic, cultural and social rights. The constitution changes Kenyas political and governance structure, entrenching checks and balances by clearly defining the roles and powers of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. It also introduces a devolution structure to ensure that public resources are equitably distributed across regions. However, the new constitution does not outlaw the death penalty or provide protections based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and imposes restrictions on reproductive rights.
The new constitution provides an opportunity for much-needed legal and institutional reforms, especially of the police and judiciary, that enhance human rights, but implementation has been slow. Exposure of serious police human rights abuses, including extrajudicial executions of criminal suspects, led to police reforms and the removal from office of the police commissioner. Yet impunity remains a serious problem. No perpetrators of the post-election violence have been brought to justice, and the national tribunal agreed to as a condition of the post-election political settlement has yet to be established. As a result, in March 2011 the International Criminal Court summoned six prominent Kenyans to the Hague to answer charges of organizing the post-election violence.
Residents of informal settlements or slums lack adequate housing and access to vital social services like electricity, clean water and sanitation. Much of Nairobi's Deep Sea slum burned down in March 2011 because fire engines could not reach the area. Residents, particularly women, suffer from insecurity and are vulnerable to violence due insufficient sanitation facilities and a lack of police protection. Slum dwellers are also subject to forced evictions; in July 2010 police shot dead an elderly man protesting the demolishing of homes and market stalls in Kabete.
Kenya's violations of the human rights of Somali refugees and asylum-seekers are putting thousands of lives at risk. Somalis fleeing violence in their homeland fail to find refuge in overcrowded and dangerous refugee camps, where they live in “open prisons” due to restrictions on their movements. Somali refugees and asylum-seekers in Kenya are vulnerable to official mistreatment and forcible return to Somalia, where they face the risk of grave human rights abuses.
An Amnesty International staff member has been targeted by a sophisticated surveillance campaign, in what the organization suspects was a deliberate attempt to spy on its staff by a government hostile to its work. In early June 2018, an Amnesty International staff member received a suspicious WhatsApp message in Arabic. The text contained details about …
The Sengwer Indigenous people of Embobut Forest, Kenya are being forced from their homes and dispossessed of their ancestral lands by the grossly flawed, illegal and violent actions of the Kenyan government, Amnesty International said in a new report launched today. The report, Families Torn Apart: Forced Evictions of Indigenous People in Embobut Forest, Kenya, looks at …
Heavily armed police are using unlawful force against protesters and bystanders in the western city of Kisumu in what appears to be a deliberate campaign to punish people for continuing to protest amid chaotic elections over the past week, Amnesty International said today.
Responding to the Kenyan Supreme Court’s decision to annul last month’s presidential election and order a re-run, Justus Nyang’aya, Country Director at Amnesty International Kenya, said the following.
Responding to attempts by Kenya’s NGO regulator to shut down two human rights organizations – the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the African Centre for Open Governance (AfriCoG), Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes made the following statement.
Kenyan police must not use unnecessary force in their handling of any election-related protests, said Amnesty International today amid fear and uncertainty in the country after the opposition rejected the initial publicly announced results.
In response to today’s court ruling blocking the Kenyan government’s unilateral decision to shut Dadaab refugee camp, Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:
Jerome Starkey, who has reported for the UK newspaper The Times from Kenya for last five years, was detained on his return from London at 9:45 p.m. on December 8. He has yet to be told why, more than 18 hours later.
In response to today’s announcement by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Joseph Nkaissery that plans to close down Dadaab refugee camp would be delayed by six months, Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said: “While we welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s …
Kenya: Government officials coercing refugees back to war-torn Somalia Just two weeks before the deadline given to close the Dadaab refugee camp, Kenyan government officials are deliberately coercing refugees to return to Somalia, where they risk being injured or killed in the ongoing armed conflict, Amnesty International said in a report released today. The government …