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Kenya

    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.

    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.”

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