Kenya
14.01.08
Urgent Interventions

Threats against members of Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice Initiative

KEN 001 / 0108 / OBS 005
Threats
Kenya

January 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 of threats against members of Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice Initiative (KPTJ), a coalition of independent NGOs[1], including Ms. Maina Kiai, former Chairman of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Chair of the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights.

According to the information received, on January 8, 2007, reliable sources within the Kenyan Police Force and the National Security Intelligence Service informed KPTJ that the personal safety and security of its members was at risk and that a special unit had been formed to consider “methods of neutralisation” of the latter, who were also warned that they had to be cautious when driving at night.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about these threats and fears that they might be aimed at striking down the activities of the KHRC and to intimidate its members, as the latter are struggling for the implementation of the principle of free and fair elections[2], in a context of increasing political tension.

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. i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of KPTJ members and of all human rights defenders in the country;
  2. ii. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into the threats against KPTJ members, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;
  3. iii. Put an end to all acts harassment against human rights defenders in Kenya;
  4. iv. 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. v. 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:

  • Mr. Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya, Email: 780@yahoo.com;
  • 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, January 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] The KPTJ was formed in the aftermath of the immediate past general elections to denounce electoral frauds and to support freedom of expression and association in the country.

[2] On January 10, 2008, a peaceful march was organized by the KPTJ to Kilimani Police Station to file a private prosecution against the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) with regard to criminal offenses (making of false certificates; neglect of duty; disobedience of statutory duty; forgery of judicial or official documents, etc.) committed in the processing, management and control of the general elections.

Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts