Kenya: One Year in Office for Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto; Human Rights Record Marred by Abuses

As April 9, 2014 marked the first year in office of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as President and Deputy President of Kenya, FIDH and KHRC publish a briefing paper which demonstrates that despite the commitments made by the Jubilee Coalition during its electoral campaign, which were echoed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his inaugural speech when he reaffirmed his willingness to guarantee the protection of “the rights of all citizens [...] through legislation that upholds the spirit of [the] Constitution”, and to “glorify rather than undermine democracy”, this first year in office has been marked by worrisome cases of infringements of fundamental rights and freedoms and by rampant impunity.

April 9th 2013 to April 2014 has been a period within which freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly have been constantly under threat, freedom of expression and of the press have been seriously infringed, and fundamental rights of non-discrimination have been jeopardised in various ways. This undermining of these and other constitutional human rights gains must stop if Kenya is to truly follow the path of democracy and the rule of law,

declared Atsango Chesoni, KHRC Executive Director.

The paper shows that throughout the year, Kenyan authorities have attempted to clamp down on dissenting voices, either through the adoption of restrictive legislation aimed at further regulating the NGO or media sectors; through the violent police crackdown on demonstrators; or through judicial harassment of protesters and human rights defenders. Under the guise of preserving the country’s peace and security, authorities have conducted anti-terrorism operations which have, in some cases, been marred by serious human rights abuses. Also, attempts to roll back on fundamental rights of women or to further discriminate against LGBTI persons have been noticed.

This first year in office has also been marked by an ongoing lack of effective measures to ensure that victims of human rights violations, and in particular victims of the 2007/2008 post-election violence, get justice and redress at national and international levels. Instead, the new authorities have embarked on a national, regional and international campaign aimed at undermining the functions of the International Criminal Court (ICC). At the national level, there have been few prosecutions of mid-level perpetrators of the violence and most of them have ended in acquittals. In addition, those advocating for victim’s rights to justice have been the constant targets of stigmatisation and intimidation.

Instead of fulfilling their obligation to ensure that victims of post-election violence get justice and redress, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have spent their entire first year in office actively undermining these non derogeable rights. It is time for them to uphold Kenya’s constitution and its international obligations,

declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

Read the report One Year in Office for Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto

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