Kenya : Harassment of human rights organisations Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI)

22/04/2015
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the administrative harassment of Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), two human rights organisations, which advocate for constitutional means to counter terrorism while also observing human rights.

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

KEN 001 / 0415 / OBS 034
Harassment
Kenya
April 23, 2015

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), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Kenya.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the administrative harassment of Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), two human rights organisations, which advocate for constitutional means to counter terrorism while also observing human rights.

According to the information received on April 20, 2015, at approximately 2 p.m., officers of the Kenyan Revenue Authorities (KRA) raided the premises of Haki Africa in Mombasa and seized computers, hard disks, documents and financial files. The officers, who presented a court order and were accompanied by at least four policemen, declared to be investigating on allegations of tax evasion.

The same facts happened on April 21, 2015, at approximately 11 a.m., in the premises of MUHURI, where officers of the KRA presented a warrant mentioning criminal investigation on possible tax evasion. In addition to seizing documents, they also dismantled the office server.

The Observatory recalls that earlier on April 7, 2015, these two organisations had their accounts frozen [1]. This followed their listing as “Entities Suspected to be Associated with Al-Shabaab” by the Kenyan Government, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Garissa.

Furthermore, the Observatory denounces the administrative harassment against Haki Africa and MUHURI, which seems to merely aim at preventing them from carrying out their legitimate human rights work, and calls on Kenyan authorities to put an end on it.

Finally, the Observatory reiterates its concern regarding the shrinking space imposed by the Government to the Kenyan civil society, following the inclusion of several organisations, among which also Haki Africa and MUHURI, on the official list of terrorist entities as well as the freezing of their bank accounts. Our organisations call for a prompt revision of such list, in order to guarantee full freedom of association for NGOs that are merely carrying out human rights activities.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Kenya, urging them to:

i. Put an end to any kind of harassment – including at the judicial level – against Haki Africa and MUHURI, their members, as well as all human rights defenders in Kenya so that they are able to carry out their work without any hindrances;

ii. Remove immediately and unconditionally MUHURI and Haki Africa from the terrorism list and lift immediately any freezing or restriction of the activities of these organisations;

iii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the members of Haki Africa and MUHURI, as well as of all human rights defenders in Kenya;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as with Article 12.2 (“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”);

v. Acknowledge the important role played by civil society in promoting tolerance in the struggle against violent extremism and ensure an enabling environment in which human rights defenders and civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity;

vi. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Kenya.

Addresses

Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, State House, Statehouse Road, P.O Box: 40530 00100, Nairobi, Kenya., Fax: +254-020-2436, Email: president@statehousekenya.go.ke

Hon. William Ruto, Deputy-President of the Republic of Kenya, Office of The Deputy President, Harambee Avenue, P.O. Box 74434 - 00200 Nairobi, Kenya., Tel: +254 20 3247000/1/2/3/4/5, Email: dp@deputypresident.go.ke

Hon. Joseph Nkaissery, Interior & Coordination of National Government, Harambee House, Harambee Avenue, P.O Box 30510,00100 Nairobi, Tel: +254-20-2227411, Email: ps.interior@kenya.go.ke

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

Commissioner Kagwiria Mbogori, Chairperson, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Fax: +254-020- 2716160 E-mail haki@knchr.org

H.E. Mr. Stephen Ndungu Karau, 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

H.E. Johnson Weru, 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 diplomatic representations of Kenya in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, April 23, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code 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.

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