News 2008


Amnesty International Says Kenya Must Investigate Post-Election Violence and Hold Perpetrators Responsible to Prevent Future Unrest

Kenya Crisis Under Discussion at African Commission Meeting in Gambia

15. Feb. 2008

NEW YORK - February 15 - Amnesty International today called on the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, meeting in Gambia, and the Kenyan government to thoroughly investigate the post-election human rights violations in Kenya that have caused 1,000 deaths, to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

The African Commission will be meeting in an extraordinary session in Banjul, Gambia to discuss developments in Kenya, among other concerns, today through February 24. "A human rights agenda must be central to any resolution of the political crisis which means that those responsible for the violence must be brought to justice and the victims receive reparations. Impunity for human rights violations will only store up problems for Kenya's future. We hope that the African Commission will play its role in ensuring that this does not happen," said Erwin van der Borght, director of Amnesty International's Africa Program, who has just returned from a fact-finding mission to Kenya. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has been working as the chief mediator to try to end the violence and political turmoil that has driven tens of thousands of Kenyans from their homes. And President Bush will send U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya during his upcoming trip to Africa, to urge a return to democracy. "Any reforms to government structures or functions in Kenya must also strengthen human rights protections," said Ann Corbett, Kenya country specialist for Amnesty International USA. "Amnesty International urges Secretary Rice to help move the Kenyan government and the Orange Democratic Movement toward greater respect for human rights." Amnesty International calls on the African Commission to: * Call on the Kenyan government and the Orange Democratic Movement to ensure full respect for human rights by their supporters. Urge the Kenyan government to investigate all allegations of human rights violations and ensure that suspected perpetrators are held responsible through trials that comply with international standards. * Undertake an investigative mission to Kenya to assess the human rights situation. The Commission's Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa should be an integral part of the mission. A report of the mission with specific recommendations should be submitted to the African Union's Heads of States Assembly soon after the visit and subsequently made public. Background information Since December 30, more than 1,000 people have been killed in politically motivated or ethnic attacks in Kenya following a disputed presidential election. This number includes numerous people shot dead by the police, who were deployed to quell the violence or break up mass rallies called by political opposition leaders to protest the presidential election results. According to estimates, more than 300,000 people have become internally displaced as a result of the violence and more than 10,000 others have fled to Uganda as refugees.