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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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: Recent Documents

Kenya: Recent Documents
Date distributed (ymd): 970711
Document reposted by WOA

This posting contains a June 24 statement on Kenya by US-based groups, and a release on the most recent events by Amnesty International.

For more information on these statements contact Amnesty International, 304 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington DC 20003, tel: 202-544-0200, Ext. 234; fax: 202-546-7142. Amnesty International statements are distributed through the Amnesty International news service, available as a listserv (Amnesty-L). To subscribe to amnesty-L, send a message to <majordomo@oil.ca> with "subscribe amnesty-L" in the message body. More information from Amnesty International can be found at the organization's international Web site (www.amnesty.org) or U.S. Web site (www.amnesty-usa.org).


JOINT STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF KENYAN CIVIL SOCIETY CALLS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS

June 24, 1997

We, the undersigned organizations, concerned with the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights in Kenya wish to convey our support to the Kenyan people working for peaceful reform in Kenya. We support the statements of the National Convention Assembly, the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Kenya Catholic Episcopal Conference, calling for constitutional, statutory, and administrative reforms. These statements call for minimum reforms as a pre-requisite for free, fair and informed elections as part of a longer-term, comprehensive process of reform.

In this regard, we call upon the Government of Kenya to consult and dialogue with all sectors of Kenyan society and to swiftly implement these reforms. We take note that as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the Government of Kenya is committed to protecting the fundamental rights of Kenyan citizens. Under present conditions, these commitments are being violated and are contributing to an environment inhospitable for the conduct of free and fair elections.

As set forth in the Churches' statement and the resolutions of the National Convention Assembly, we call upon the Kenyan Government to listen to the Kenyan people and initiate the process of reform, including taking the following immediate steps:

The repeal of the Preservation of the Public Security Act which allows for indefinite detention without trial and restrictions on freedom of movement;

The repeal, in its entirety, of the Chiefs Authority Act which gives local administration chiefs immense power to restrict the freedom of movement and association of their subjects;

The repeal of the Public Order Act, so that all restrictions on the freedoms of association, assembly and expression are lifted. While President Moi has recently introduced the Peaceful Assemblies Bill as a replacement for the Public Order Act, the new bill still restricts the free assembly, association and operation of groups in Kenya.

The amendment of the Societies Act so that restrictions on the registration of lawful organizations and political parties are removed. Accordingly, those lawful organizations and political parties which have been denied registration should promptly be registered.

Finally, we join our Kenyan colleagues in urging that the Kenyan Constitution be strengthened to guarantee the fundamental human rights of Kenya's citizens at all times.

We take this opportunity to join our colleagues in Kenya, working for the peaceful transformation of Kenyan society, in calling upon the Government of Kenya to enact these reforms and other reforms necessary to ensure that every Kenyan can freely enjoy their fundamental human rights within an environment and political system that is truly open and participatory.

Signed,

Africa Faith and Justice Network
American Friends Service Committee
Amnesty International USA
The Fund for Peace
Human Rights Watch/Africa
The Institute for Policy Studies
The Kenyan Community Abroad
Maryknoll Justice and Peace office
Missionaries of Africa
Organization of Nigerians Abroad
United Democratic Forum of Nigerians
The Africa Fund
*Salih Booker, Council on Foreign Relations
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights
Washington Office On Africa
International Human Rights Law Group
Kenyan Human Rights Initiative
TransAfrica
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
National Council of Churches/ Church World Service
Unitarian Universalist Association
Africa Office/United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ
Office for Church in Society/United Church of Christ

*Institution listed for identification purposes only


AI INDEX: AFR 32/37/97

8 JULY 1997

Kenya: Violent security force crackdown aims to intimidate pro-democracy activists

Amnesty International was appalled at the violence meted out by police and security forces as they broke up pro-democracy rallies organized throughout Kenya yesterday which resulted in the death a 17-year-old boy and nine others, and left scores of people injured.

"Excessive violence was clearly used in an attempt to intimidate pro-democracy activists from holding further rallies," Amnesty International said today. "The authorities should set up a prompt and impartial investigation into yesterday's events, ensure that those responsible for using excessive force are brought to justice, and that the security forces follow international guidelines when dealing with future rallies."

This is the third such event that has been violently disrupted by the security forces in the last two months as the demand for minimal constitutional and legal reform increases, in the run-up to the presidential and parliamentary elections due later this year. The government has promised a constitutional review after the election, arguing that for practical reasons reform is not possible until then. However, many Kenyans believe the elections will be meaningless without reform.

"That reforms are needed -- both to the constitution and to a number of laws -- is agreed by all sides. It is the timing that is in question. However, unless all sides agree to meet and find a way to resolve the situation the violence and lack of respect for human rights will increase and more lives will be lost," Amnesty International said.

Further demonstrations are planned and there are calls now for comprehensive constitutional and legal reform as too many lives have been lost.

"Less than a month ago, during a visit by the organization's Secretary General to Kenya, we warned the international community that unless there was a serious attempt to resolve the situation the violence would escalate," Amnesty International said.

"We reiterate our call for all those involved to urgently engage in meaningful dialogue to ensure that everyone is granted the freedom to organize and protest. We believe that the international community has a key role to play in helping persuade the different parties to meet and engage in discussions in order to prevent further human rights violations." ENDS\

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