Kenya
14.08.08
Urgent Interventions

Intimidation acts against Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya

KEN 002 / 0808 / OBS 135
Summoning/ Intimidation
Kenya

August 14, 2008

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Kenya.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Kenyan Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) that Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya, who participated in documenting human rights violations in Mount Elgon Hospital Kitale (Western Province of Kenya) in regard to Mount Elgon torture cases[1], was summoned by police early on 14 August 2008.

According to the information received, Dr. Wekesa Nalianya, a registered doctor with the Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board (registration number A. 4018) practising at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, was summoned by police and taken to Kakamega’s Provincial Criminal Investigation Office (PCIO), where he is currently being interrogated. The police allege that Dr. Wekesa Nalianya is not registered under private practice and thus ought not to have documented the Mount Elgon torture allegations.

Dr. Wekesa Nalianya reportedly documented human rights violations in Mount Elgon Hospital Kitale for the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights’ (KNCHR) report, which was released in May 2008. He has also actively collaborated with IMLU, a registered NGO working for the rights of torture victims in Kenya, on examining torture cases.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about the summoning and interrogation of Dr. Wekesa Nalianya and fears that these acts are only intended to intimidate and prevent him from carrying out his human rigths activities.

The Observatory also recalls that according to Article 12.2 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

Actions required:

Please write to the Kenyan authorities, urging them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya;
  2. Release him immediately and unconditionally;
  3. Put an end to all acts of harassment against Dr. Walter Wekesa Nalianya as well as against all human rights defenders in Kenya;
  4. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as above-mentioned Article 12.2;
  5. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Kenya.

Addresses:

  • Hon. Mwai Kibaki, The President, Republic of Kenya, P.O. Box 30050 00100 - Harambee Avenue Nairobi, Kenya, Fax: +254-020-243620, Email: president@statehousekenya.go.ke
  • Right Hon. Raila Odinga, Prime Minister, Republic of Kenya, P.O. Box 30050 00100, Nairobi, Kenya, Email: contact@statehousekenya.go.ke
  • Hon. George Saitoti, Minister for Internal Security, Harambee Avenue, P.O. Box 30510, Nairobi 00200, Kenya, Tel: +254-020-227411
  • Major General Hussein Ali, Commissioner of Police, Kenya Police Headquarters, Vigilance House, Harambee Avenue, P.O. Box 30083, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel: +254-020-341411/6/8, Email: commissioner@police.go.ke, complaints@police.go.ke
  • Hon S. Amos Wako, Attorney General, State Law Office, Harambee Avenue, P.0. Box 40112, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel.: +254-020-227461
  • Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Mrs. Jaoko e-mail haki@knchr.org
  • Hon. Martha W. Karua, E.G.H., M.P., Ministry of Justice, Haile Selassie Avenue, P.O. Box 56057, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel.: 254-20-224029, Email: ps-justice@justice.go.ke
  • Permanent Mission of Kenya to the United Nations in Geneva, Av. de la Paix 1-3, 1202 Genève, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 731 29 05, E-mail: mission.kenya@ties.itu.int
  • Embassy of Kenya in Brussels, 208 av. W. Churchill, 1180 Uccle, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 340 10 50 / + 32 2 340 10 68. Email: kenbrussels@hotmail.com

Please also write to the embassies of Kenya in your respective countries.

Geneva - Paris, August 14, 2008

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax: FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax: OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

[1] In this regard, see OMCT Action File: KEN040608.ESCR. OMCT had received information from IMLU and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), both members of OMCT SOS Torture Network, concerning torture and extra-judicial killings by the Kenyan Army and Police in the Mount Elgon District in the context of operations against the Sabaot Land Defence Force (SLDF), a guerrilla militia. In March 2008, the Kenyan Army was deployed in the Mount Elgon area to clamp down on the activities of the SLDF in an action called “Operation Okoa Maisha”. It has resulted in mass arrests and the subsequent prosecution of over 1200 persons.

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