, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 16 – Kenya has been singled out as one of the most notorious nations in the world where human rights defenders are abused and violated in the course of their work.
It is among 66 nations sampled in Steadfast in Protest, an annual report for 2009 by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) which was launched in Geneva last month and released in Nairobi on Thursday by the Kenya Human Rights Commission’s Deputy Executive Director Tom Kagwe.
“For example in Kenya, we all saw what they (police) did to various human rights activists like Anne Njogu and others who were beaten and detained on several occasions,” Mr Kagwe said.
Kenya has been put on the same platform with Somalia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Argentina, Niger, and Guatemala among others where authorities are cited for having discredited human rights work besides violating their rights through illegal detentions, threats or killings.
“State actors in these countries are often reported to have frustrated the work of human rights defenders while some nations even de-registered organisations or withheld their funding,” he said.
In Kenya for instance, he said, authorities are accused of having threatened, assaulted, harassed or detained human rights defenders who denounced violations committed by state actors, particularly during the post election violence.
“The police ran amok specifically in Nyanza and Nairobi. When human rights defenders came out to protest or highlight (the violations), they faced all manner of threats. Some had to run away,” he said.
In the post election context, the report states, the lives, safety and security of human rights defenders were placed at great risk and their work severely impaired, especially when denouncing post electoral human rights violations.
The report singles out the former Chairman of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) Maina Kiai, lawyer Haroun Ndubi and Executive Director of the KHRC Muthoni Wanyeki as some of they key rights defenders whose lives and/or safety were threatened.
Others include Ndung’u Wainaina of the National Convention Executive Council (NCEC), Gladwel Otieno of the Africa Centre for Open Government and Njeri Kabeberi of the Centre for Multi Party Democracy among others.