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Kenya

    November 16, 2016

    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 pledge that repatriations will be carried out in a humane, dignified manner, the announcement is not a change in policy. Thousands of refugees remain at risk of forced repatriation to a war-torn country with and where they are at risk of death or injury in the ongoing conflict.”

    “The Kenyan government must end its dogged determination to repatriate refugees against their will in contravention of international law and instead with donor support, embrace sustainable long-term solutions, including integration of the refugees into local communities. The international community must also share responsibility with Kenya by providing more resettlement places to the most vulnerable refugees.”

    November 14, 2016

    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 announced in May that it would close the world’s largest refugee camp, which is home to more than 280,000 mostly Somali refugees, citing security, economic and environmental concerns, in addition to lack of support by the international community. Since then, government officials have made statements in the media and visited the camp, threatening people to leave before the closure slated for 30 November 2016.

    “The refugees are caught between a rock and a hard place. Kenyan government officials are telling them they must leave by the end of the month or they will be forced to leave without any assistance,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    November 04, 2016

    Spokespeople available

    The High Court in Kenya will on Monday 7 November hear a petition filed by two civil society organizations challenging the government’s decision to close down Dadaab refugee camp and disband the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA).

    Amnesty International is participating in the proceedings as an interested party and has filed submissions on Kenya’s obligations under international law to ensure the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

    The petition, filed by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Kituo Cha Sheria, seeks to have the government’s closure decisions declared unconstitutional.

    “The closure of Dadaab would be a disaster for the tens of thousands of refugees still living there who have nowhere else to go. Their repatriation back to Somalia is not voluntary - they are being forced to return when the conditions that forced them to flee in the first place have not improved,” said Michelle Kagari, deputy director of Amnesty International’s East Africa regional office.

    August 30, 2016

    The Kenyan government must set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate and bring to justice all those suspected of criminal responsibility for extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, said 13 Kenyan and global human rights organizations today as they marked the International Day of the Disappeared.

    Kenyan and global human rights organizations have documented more than 300 cases of individuals who have gone missing while in the hands of security agencies since 2009, some of whom have later been found killed.

    “Enforced disappearances have become a widespread practice, and a dark stain on the fabric of law enforcement in Kenya that can only be sustainably addressed by bringing to account those suspected of responsibility through fair trials,” said Peter Kiama, Executive Director of the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU).

    “But fair trials cannot take place without prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the myriad cases of disappearances and executions.”

    August 18, 2016
    Refugees are proudly cheering on Team Refugees at screenings of the Olympic Games at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya thanks to a FilmAid project, supported by Amnesty International.

    For the first time ever, a refugee team is competing at the Olympic Games under the Olympic flag. 10 refugee athletes are acting as a symbol of hope for refugees worldwide and bringing global attention to the magnitude of the refugee crisis, by taking part in the Olympic Games in Rio.

    FilmAid, along with other key partners such as UNHCR and Amnesty International wanted to enable the refugee community in Kakuma, many of whom wouldn’t normally have the ability to watch the global event, to watch their team compete live with the rest of the world. Refugees now have a place as they support their team.
     

     

    August 11, 2016

    Responding to today’s High Court ruling that Kenyan human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and two others were subject to enforced disappearance and later executed by police, Victor Odero, Amnesty International’s East Africa Campaigner said:

    “The court’s determination is a watershed moment in the history of justice in Kenya as it sheds the spotlight on the common but under-reported scourge of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country.”

    “The ruling is a fitting tribute to Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwendwa and Joseph Muiruri, as well as hundreds of other Kenyans who have been executed or disappeared at the hands of the police, and a victory for everyone who protested and demanded justice for them.”

    The court also ruled that Willie Kimani should be recognised as a champion of justice.

    July 04, 2016

    Bodies dumped in river after enforced disappearance

    (Nairobi, July 4, 2016) - Kenyan authorities must urgently investigate the killing last week of three men, including a human rights lawyer, and ensure that those found responsible are held to account in fair trials, 34 Kenyan and international human rights organizations said today.  Human rights activists will today hold demonstrations in Nairobi and other parts of Kenya today to protest the heinous killings.

    The shocking abduction, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings of lawyer Willie Kimani, as well as his client and their taxi driver that day, whose bodies were recovered from a river 73 kilometres northeast of Nairobi, should be cause for alarm over the state of human rights and rule of law in Kenya, especially in the face of reports suggesting that police officers were involved. 

    May 17, 2016

    Yesterday’s brutal crackdown by Kenyan police against protesters must be urgently and impartially investigated, said Amnesty International.

    Police descended on a crowd of largely peaceful protesters hitting many of them with batons, lobbing tear gas at them and spraying them with water cannons. In one video widely shared on social media, three policemen were seen kicking and beating a protester after he had collapsed by the roadside. Some media reports say the individual later died of his injuries.

    “The brutal beatings by police yesterday amount to arbitrary and abusive use of force, which is illegal under Kenyan, regional and international law,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    April 05, 2016

    Today’s decision to drop charges against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang must not derail efforts to ensure justice for victims of the 2007/8 post-election violence, said Amnesty International. The two had faced charges of crimes against humanity.

    In its decision, a Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) declared the charges vacated. However, it held that the charges were dropped “without prejudice to the Prosecutor’s right to re-prosecute the case in the future.” The decision may also be the subject of an appeal by the Office of the Prosecutor.

    “This decision could be seen as a major setback by thousands of victims who have waited so long for justice,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    November 27, 2015

    The concerted campaign of political interference by the Kenyan government with the judicial independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Assembly of State Parties this week is a shocking indictment of the lengths the country will go to deny justice to the victims of horrific crimes committed during the post-election violence of 2008, said Amnesty International today.

    Kenya effectively attempted to blackmail the Assembly of State Parties (ASP), the political oversight body of the ICC, to acceded to demands which would undermine the trial of the country’s Deputy President, William Samoei Ruto, by threatening to withdraw from the ICC. While the proposal was defeated, the fact that the Assembly came perilously close to buckling to the threats from Kenya is a stark warning for the future.
     
    “It is deplorable that this effort was undertaken to protect a single individual – Kenya’s current Deputy President. The attempt by Kenya to interfere with cases before the ICC is shocking,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Regional Research and Advocacy Director for Africa.

    October 04, 2015

    Released 5 October 2015  00:01 GMT

    • Highway authority “regrets” carrying out unlawful evictions

    • International funders contravened own policies
    • Specific law prohibiting forced evictions needed

    In a welcome U-turn, Kenya’s highway authority (KENHA) has admitted that it was wrong to forcibly evict more than one hundred people from an informal settlement and promised full redress to all those affected, said Amnesty International on the eve of World Habitat Day.

    The authority acknowledged the wrongdoing in the run up to the publication of Amnesty International’s highly critical report published today.

    Driven out for development: Forced evictions in Mombasa details the impact of a road expansion development on the informal settlements of Jomvu and Bangladesh. It also exposes the failure by three of the project’s funders - the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the German Development Bank (KfW) - to comply with their responsibilities.

    July 24, 2015

    US President Barack Obama should use his visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, which began today, to call for dramatic improvements in the human rights situation in both countries, said Amnesty International, alongside 13 signatories to a letter sent to the President.

    “Both countries face real security threats but we are concerned by the way in which each government has responded, often with abusive security measures and increased efforts to stifle civil society and independent media,” the letter states.Whilst in Kenya, the President should “address both new and longstanding challenges with which the country continues to grapple – from security force impunity and the need for criminal justice reforms, to an increasingly restrictive environment for media and civil society, and growing pressure on Kenya’s Somali refugee population and its Muslim communities.”

    Whilst in Ethiopia President Obama should “send the message that the United States is giving short shrift to the profoundly repressive policies pursued by the government.”

    June 11, 2015

    The Mombasa High Court ruling issued today barring the Kenyan government from declaring two human rights organizations as terrorist entities is a partial victory for justice over politically motivated intimidation and harassment of civil society, said Amnesty International today. 

    However, despite winning the case, the prominent non-governmental organizations, Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), did not have their bank accounts unfrozen, as they had requested. 

    “Haki Africa and MUHURI are legitimate human rights organizations that should be allowed to freely carry on their work as human rights defenders without fear of harassment or intimidation”, said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. 

    “The original decision declaring these two groups as having terrorist links was clearly politically motivated. If justice is to be fully served the bank accounts of both organizations must immediately be unfrozen and other regulatory and administrative steps impeding their full operations must be reversed.” 

    April 16, 2015

    Forcibly returning around 350,000 refugees to Somalia would be a violation of Kenya’s obligations under international law and put hundreds of thousands of lives at risk, Amnesty International said today.

    Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, is situated in the north east of Kenya. It is about 100 km from Garissa, where 147 people, including 142 students, were murdered at the university on 2 April in an attack for which the militant Islamist group, Al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility. The move to close the camps has been presented as a security measure in response to that attack.

    “The attack in Garissa underlined the need for the Kenyan government to better guarantee the security of its population. But this must not be done by putting at risk people Kenya is duty-bound to protect,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    April 13, 2015

    (Nairobi, April 13, 2015) – The Kenyan government should urgently review the inclusion of human rights organizations on an official list of alleged supporters of terrorism and ensure full respect of due process, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

    The list is comprised of 86 individuals and entities, and includes two human rights groups, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa.  The list was published in the official government gazette on April 7, 2015, days after the attack on Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya in which 147 people, including 142 students, were killed. The militant Islamist group, Al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the attack.

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