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Kenya

    May 26, 2014

    Kenya’s Somali community is being scapegoated in a counter-terror operation which has seen thousands subjected to arbitrary arrest, harassment, extortion, ill-treatment, forcible relocation and expulsion, Amnesty International said today.

    In a new Briefing Paper Amnesty International documents a disturbing wave of serious human rights violations suffered by Kenya’s Somali community since a security crackdown - known as ‘Operation Usalama Watch’ - began in early  April 2014.

    “It appears that ‘Operation Uslama Watch’ is being used as a pretext for the blanket punishment of the Somali community in Kenya. They have become scapegoats with thousands arrested and ill-treated, forcibly relocated and hundreds unlawfully expelled to a war-torn country,” said Michelle Kagari, Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Africa at Amnesty International.

    April 11, 2014

    Somali refugees and asylum-seekers living in Kenya are being trapped in a catch-22 situation by the government’s counter-terrorism crackdown, Amnesty International said as thousands of Somalis continued to be rounded up by security forces in Nairobi.

    Registration of Somali refugees in Kenya has been largely halted since December 2011, preventing many who should qualify for refugee status from obtaining papers. Without these they could be returned to Somalia, where they may be at risk of human rights abuses.

    “Thousands of unregistered Somali refugees and asylum-seekers are in an impossible situation: they face arrest and deportation because they are not registered, but it is extremely difficult for them to register,” said Michelle Kagari, Deputy Regional Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme.

    February 18, 2014

    Released Midnight GMT 18 February 2014

    Widespread intimidation, the abuse of human rights and the withdrawal of services are forcing Somali refugees out of Kenya said Amnesty International in a report published today.

    “The environment in Kenya is now so hostile that some refugees feel they have no option but to return to Somalia where the ongoing conflict in parts of the country continues to destroy lives. This is tantamount to forced return” said Sarah Jackson, Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International.

    Amnesty International’s report “No Place Like Home” reveals how life for Somali refugees has been made unbearable. People are denied access to registration, meaning they are illegally staying in Kenya, and are actively targeted by the police with indiscriminate arrests.

    Abdi, 28, said “Here, in Kenya, it’s like a prison. At night we can’t leave the house, in the day we might be arrested. It is not currently safe in Somalia, we hear of killings and murder, but the situation here is very desperate… so instead of being here, let me go back.”

    November 20, 2013

    World leaders must reject requests by the African Union to weaken the principle that no-one, regardless of their status, has immunity from prosecution for crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, said Amnesty International. 

    The session is expected to be dominated by the African Union’s calls to suspend the ICC’s trials of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in view of their official status as President and Deputy President of Kenya respectively. 

    Both men are accused of committing crimes against humanity during the post-election violence of 2007-8 that left over 1,000 dead and 600,000 displaced.

    Representatives of 122 countries which have joined the International Criminal Court will be asked to endorse changes to the Court’s rule that accused persons must attend trial and could discuss possible retrograde amendments to the Rome Statute at the 12 th Assembly of State Parties at The Hague on 20-28 November.

    November 13, 2013

    The UN Security Council must not give in to political pressure to defer Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial at the International Criminal Court for a year, Amnesty International said ahead of a scheduled vote on Friday.

    Earlier this month, Rwanda, a Security Council member, circulated a draft resolution seeking the deferral. It is due to be put to a vote on Friday.

    “The victims of the post-election violence in Kenya have waited long enough for justice,” said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Law and Policy at Amnesty International. “It would be a shame if Security Council members prioritized the personal interests of political leaders over those of victims of crimes against humanity.”

    “Deferring the trial sets a dangerous precedent for international justice – paving the way for future trials to be derailed for political interests.”

    November 13, 2013

    A series of amendments to a bill regulating the work of non-governmental organizations in Kenya will, if passed, dramatically undermine freedom of expression and human rights in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    “The level of control Kenyan authorities are trying to impose on NGOs is shameful. These organizations play a critical role in helping communities realise basic human rights through provision of services such as health and education,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director.

    “A cap on the external funding they can receive would have a devastating impact on their capacity to help those in most need,”

    Proposed amendments to the Public Benefits Organizations (PBO) Act would, include limits on the level of external funds an organization can receive and give the Regulatory Authority broader powers over registering NGOs and granting them permits.

    They would also increase government control over NGOs. The amendments are expected to be tabled in Parliament in the coming weeks.

    October 30, 2013

    The United Nations Security Council must not lose sight of the victims’ right to obtain justice for the horrific crimes that took place in Kenya’s post-election period nearly six years ago, Amnesty International warned ahead of talks on Thursday.

    The UN Security Council is due to host an informal dialogue on the issue with representatives of Kenya and the African Union (AU). It comes after the AU’s request earlier this month for a deferral of the ICC trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto for their alleged role in crimes against humanity during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.

    “A deferral of the ongoing International Criminal Court trials of Kenya’s leaders would send a dangerous message that the international community does not support justice for the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    October 07, 2013

    The Kenyan government must put an immediate end to mass evictions until legal safeguards are put in place to protect the human rights of the thousands of residents living in slums and informal settlements who are affected, said Amnesty International.

    “Nearly half of Nairobi’s population live in slums and many are at risk of forced evictions which not only often make people homeless, but also involve violence and lead to loss of access to services such as water and sanitation as well as livelihoods, education and healthcare”, said Iain Byrne, head of Amnesty International’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights team.

    “Forced evictions devastate lives and need to be outlawed.”

    To mark World Habitat Day, a new report by Amnesty International “We are like rubbish in this country” details the realities of living in Nairobi’s slums and the impact of forced evictions, focusing on two informal settlements – Deep Sea and City Carton.

    October 01, 2013

    Kenya must drop calls to force hundreds of thousands of refugees to return to Somalia where ongoing armed conflict would put their lives and security at risk, Amnesty International said today.

    It follows calls from the Kenyan MP Ndung'u Gethenji, head of the Parliament’s defence committee, to clear Somali refugees from camps in northern Kenya. He said they are used as "training ground" by armed groups such as al-Shabab.

    “Returning refugees to Somalia, where all parties to the conflict, including al-Shabab, continue to carry out attacks against civilians, would only make matters worse and would be in violation of international law. Instead, authorities in Kenya must protect those living in a vulnerable situation in refugee camps,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa director.

    The call follows last month’s attack on a shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. The Somali armed group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

    September 23, 2013

    The Somali-based Islamist armed group al-Shabab’s blatant disregard for life in its attack on a Nairobi shopping centre on Saturday is a despicable affront to basic human rights, Amnesty International said.

    “Amnesty International stands in solidarity with the people of Kenya in the wake of these callous and despicable attacks,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “Our thoughts and sympathy go out to all those affected by this violence. We welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta’s commitment to investigate the attack and bring the perpetrators to account.

    “We urge the Kenyan authorities to ensure that the investigations are prompt, thorough, independent and impartial. Any suspects arrested should be brought to trial in line with international standards.”

    Among those reportedly killed was the renowned Ghanaian poet and former diplomat, Dr. Kofi Awoonor. Amnesty International had campaigned on the poet’s politically motivated trial in the mid-1970s.

    September 09, 2013

    The Kenyan authorities must cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure justice is done for the victims of the 2007-8 post-election violence, Amnesty International said today ahead of the opening in The Hague of the trial of Deputy President William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua arap Sang.

    “The start of the ICC trial is an important opportunity to end impunity for the serious crimes committed in 2007/2008. Kenya must cooperate fully with the ICC and support its work to ensure a fair and effective process for the defendants, victims and witnesses, and for the Kenyan people,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa programme director.

    “Six years after post-election violence rocked the country, it is high time to prioritize the pursuit of justice for the hundreds and thousands of people who lost their lives or homes.”

    September 05, 2013

    Following the Kenyan parliament’s vote to withdraw from the International Criminal Court today, Amnesty International said:

    “Today’s vote is a disturbing attempt to deny justice to the hundreds of thousands of people who were driven from their homes or killed in the post election violence in 2007-8,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “It is unacceptable to try and protect those facing prosecution for alleged crimes against humanity and allow them to evade justice. This also sets a dangerous precedent for the future of justice in Africa.”

    The Kenyan parliament’s vote came days before Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto was due to stand trial in The Hague accused of crimes against humanity after post-election violence rocked the country in 2007-8.

    Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also faces serious charges; his trial is due to start on November 12.

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations, 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    September 04, 2013

    The Kenyan government’s proposal to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) Statute is an affront to the hundreds of thousands of Kenyans who lost their lives or were driven from their homes during the post-election violence that rocked the country in 2007-8.

    “This move is just the latest in a series of disturbing initiatives to undermine the work of the ICC in Kenya and across the continent,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa programme director.

    The proposal, which will be debated in an emergency parliamentary session on Thursday, comes just days before Kenya’s vice president William Ruto will stand trial in The Hague accused of crimes against humanity. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also faces serious charges; his trial is due to start on November 12.

    “Amnesty International calls on each and every parliamentarian to stand against impunity and reject this proposal.”

    July 30, 2013

    Attempts by the Kenyan government to water-down key reforms to regulate the country’s police force will allow human rights violations to continue and officers to act with impunity, Amnesty International warned today.

    Amendments to a police reform package are likely to be debated in Parliament this week. It was originally introduced to ensure that serious human rights violations committed by the Kenyan police force during the 2007/2008 post-election violence could never be repeated.

    However amendments proposed by the Inspector General of Police, and endorsed by the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Co-ordination, would severely weaken the reforms and eliminate many of the safeguards created to discipline and regulate the police force.

    “These reforms are vital for Kenya and it would be disastrous if they get diluted at the eleventh hour,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.

    May 27, 2013

    by The Campaign Team
    Responding to Urgent Actions and Individuals at Risk

    Please join us in taking action on this crisis facing 400 families in Kenya. Amnesty is asking activists around the world to mobilize on behalf of residents of City Carton who were forcibly evicted on May 10, 2013 from an informal settlement in the capital, Nairobi.

    On May 17 their homes were completely demolished. They are homeless and in urgent need of food, water and adequate accommodation. Police, who were providing security for the eviction, used live ammunition and teargas. Further evictions are expected in the neighbouring settlement, Opendo.

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