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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Kenya: Congressional Resolution
Any links to other sites in this file from 1996 are not clickable,
given the difficulty in maintaining up-to-date links in old files.
However, we hope they may still provide leads for your research.
Kenya: Congressional Resolution
Date Distributed (ymd): 960113

The Kenya Human Rights Initiative (KHRI)

January 10, 1996

Please distibute widely. We encourage all recipients to
contact their elected US Representative (if applicable) to ask
them to become a co-sponsor. The Africa Subcommittee is
considering holding a hearing on human rights and democracy in
Kenya in the next month - before the late February meeting of
donor nations to Kenya - so we urge you to encourage such a
hearing as well.

Michael Koplinka-Loehr for KHRI

-----------------------------------------------------
104th Congress, 1st Session, House of Representatives

Rep. John Porter is submitting the following concurrent
resolution this week; which will be referred to the Committee
on International Relations, Africa Subcommittee.

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION: Expressing the sense of the House of
Representatives concerning the political and human rights
situation in the Republic of Kenya.

Whereas the Governments of the United States and the Republic
of Kenya have enjoyed friendly relations as the Republic of
Kenya has been an important and politically stable ally to the
United States in Africa;

Whereas the Republic of Kenya is a major tourist destination
in East Africa enhancing its economic and political importance
to the United States;

Whereas the Republic of Kenya is one of the largest recipients
of United States foreign assistance in sub-Saharan Africa;

Whereas such foreign assistance had been offered to encourage
democratic freedoms, human rights, and political stability in
the Republic of Kenya;

Whereas after nine years as a single-party state led by the
Kenya Africa National Union, a 1991 constitutional amendment
restored multi-party democracy;

Whereas the Kenyan Constitution guarantees the rights of
assembly, association, conscience, and expression;

Whereas the Republic of Kenya, as a signatory to the United
Nations Charter, the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, and the African Charter, is obliged to
adhere to its international legal obligations and to protect
the fundamental human rights of all its citizens;

Whereas despite the 1991 Constitutional amendment restoring
multi-party democracy, the Government of Kenya continues to
wage a campaign of repression designed to eliminate criticism
and dissent;

Whereas Government of Kenya security forces have harassed and
detained government critics, including former cabinet members
and other advocating multi-party democracy;

Whereas former member of Parliament from Nakuru, Koigi wa
Wamwere, who has been recognized as a determined opponent to
ethnic cleansing, brutality, and corruption in the Republic of
Kenya, has been targeted by the Government of Kenya for his
political beliefs and has spent the batter part of the last
nine years in police detention;

Whereas numerous international human rights groups and
independent international observers have concluded that the
trial and sentencing of Mr. Wamwere and his two co-defendants,
Charles Kuria Wamwere and G.G. Njuguna Ngengi, to four years
in prison and six "strokes" (lashes with a cane), was
conducted in a manner that was inconsistent with international
legal standards, that the charges against the defendants were
unsubstantiated by the evidence, that much of the evidence was
fabricated, and that the trial was not conducted by an
independent and impartial tribunal;

Whereas the Government of Kenya continues to intimidate and
harass human rights attorneys, peaceful demonstrators, and
human rights activists by regularly interfering with many
civil liberties, including freedoms of speech, press,
assembly, and association;

Whereas prisoners in the Republic of Kenya, especially
political prisoners, are detained in prison for indefinite
periods of time without being charged with a crime;

Whereas prisoners in the Republic of Kenya charged with crimes
remain in prison for excessively lengthy periods of time
without being brought to trial;

Whereas prisoners in the Republic of Kenya are often subjected
to various kinds of torture, including beating with sticks,
fists, handles of hoes, and gun butts, often resulting in
permanent disability;

Whereas life threatening prison conditions in the Republic of
Kenya, including sexual abuse, severe over crowding, poor
diet, inadequate health care, substandard bedding materials,
and flooded or unheated cells led to several hundred deaths in
prison in 1994;

Whereas despite constitutional provisions to the contrary and
the Kenya Police Commissioner's June 1993 announcement that
torture was prohibited and would not be tolerated, there
continue to be credible reports that police and security
forces resort to torture and brutality to break up licensed
public assemblies;

Whereas the President of Kenya exerts overwhelming influence
over the country's judiciary, including through the
President's refusal to renew contracts of the three High Court
Judges who have issued rulings adverse to the government;  and

Whereas the Republic of Kenya's political stability is
threatened by the Government of Kenya's repression of
individual rights and democratic freedoms and its intolerance
toward political dissent:

Now therefore be it resolved by the House of Representatives
(the Senate concurring),

SECTION 1:  STATEMENT OF POLICY:

It is the sense of the Congress that the Government of Kenya
should:

1. Uphold the rights of assembly, association, conscience, and
expression, which are guaranteed in the Kenyan Constitution;

2.  Adhere to its international legal obligations under the
United Nations Charter, the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, and the African Charter;

3.  End all intimidation and harassment of those who are
critical of government policies and those working for
democracy in Kenya, particularly individuals within the
church, the press, and the legal and academic communities;

4.  Either charge and try or release all prisoners, including
persons detained for political reasons;

5.  Cease all physical abuse or mistreatment of prisoners;

6.  Release Mr. Koigi wa Wamwere and permit him to exercise
his rights of free expression, association, and political
participation in a multi-party democracy;  and

7.  Restore the independence of the judiciary.

SECTION 2.  ASSISTANCE TO REPUBLIC OF KENYA: It is the sense
of the Congress that the United States should consider
reducing, and possibly suspending, military and economic
assistance to the Republic of Kenya unless the Government of
Kenya makes substantial progress in addressing the concerns
set forth in Section 1.

------------------------------------------------------------

The Kenya Human Rights Initiative
G29 Anabel Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Ph. & Fax:607-255-9985)
E-mail: khri@cornell.edu
FREE KOIGI! "Make Injustice Visible" -Mahatma Gandhi
Our internet Home page address is:
http://www.cornell.edu/Alumni/koigi.html

************************************************************
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the
Washington Office on Africa (WOA), a not-for-profit church,
trade union and  civil rights group supported organization
that works with Congress on Africa-related legislation. WOA's
educational affiliate is the Africa Policy Information Center
(APIC).

************************************************************


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