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Kenya

    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.

    April 02, 2015

    This morning’s horrific attack on a Kenyan university college by masked gunmen highlights the urgent need for the protection of students, college staff and other ordinary people in Garissa and other areas in the north of the country, said Amnesty International today. The organization is also calling for the authorities to conduct a prompt, impartial and effective investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    Garissa University College, a constituent college of Moi University, is located in northern Kenya, a part of the country known to be vulnerable to Al Shabaab attacks. 

    “We urge the Government of Kenya to act decisively and within the Constitution and the law to ensure protection for those under or at risk of attack in Garissa and other areas of the north,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. 

    December 05, 2014

    Justice for victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence is still an urgent priority, said Amnesty International, following today’s move by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to withdraw charges of crimes against humanity against Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta.

     
    “Thousands died in the post-election violence in Kenya and this development throws a stark light on the continuing impunity for those who committed these serious crimes. Victims of these crimes are still waiting for justice and closure,”  said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The withdrawal of the charges is not a vindication of President Uhuru Kenyatta, rather it is an indictment of the government of Kenya and the International Criminal Court, both of which continue to fail the victims of the post-election violence by denying them the justice they rightfully deserve.

    July 15, 2014

    The government’s continued failure to properly investigate crimes committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence and to provide justice and reparation for its victims is having a devastating impact on their lives and livelihoods, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    ‘Crying for justice: Victims’ perspectives on justice for the post-election violence in Kenya’, provides powerful evidence of the ongoing suffering of Kenyans caught up in the violence which claimed 1,100 lives, displaced 660,000 and left thousands with long term injuries.

    “Six years after post-election violence rocked Kenya, the victims are still awaiting justice. It is vital that their voices are heard and urgent action is taken,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, in Nairobi to launch the report.

    “Many of the displaced have yet to be resettled or compensated, many of the injured or the families of those killed have yet to receive reparation to help rebuild their shattered lives and most of the perpetrators have yet to face justice.”

    July 10, 2014
    Authorities in Kenya are trying to force thousands of Somali refugees to live in squalid overcrowded camps.© SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images.

    Released 00:01 BST 11 July 2014

    Refugees in Nairobi are appealing against a controversial ruling that would force thousands of Somalis from their homes to live in squalid overcrowded camps in north Kenya, Amnesty International said today.  

    “This outrageous ruling affects the entire refugee population of Nairobi. Using the pretext of protecting national security, the Kenyan authorities have cracked down on refugees, effectively destroying any form of stability they may have managed to build after seeking refuge in Kenya,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Africa.
     
    “Thousands of people’s lives have been destroyed. Tens of thousands more are at serious risk.”

    The Somali refugees are appealing against a 30 June ruling made by High Court Judge Justice Majanja that stated that the relocation of refugees from urban centres is constitutional.

    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.

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