Statement by the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, H. E. Honourable Justice Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, violence in the Republic of Kenya

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has followed closely, and with growing concern, the violence that has engulfed Kenya in the aftermath of the Presidential elections held at the end of December 2007.

The African Commission is very concerned that the violence has led to the destruction of property and loss of life, and generated thousands of internally displaced persons, as well as refugees now seeking shelter in neighbouring countries. The Commission is particularly concerned by the developments, which have had a very deleterious effect on the human rights situation in the country.

The Commission calls upon all stakeholders to exercise the utmost restraint, and to work together to end the violence, to resort to dialogue to resolve their differences, and to end the unnecessary suffering .

In particular, the Commission is concerned about the allegations of rape against women, and calls upon the authorities in Kenya to protect women and children who are always at greater risks in such situations.

The Commission also urges the authorities in Kenya to work with human rights defenders to protect those at risk and to allow the media to carry out its work.

The Commission further calls upon the Government of Kenya, as well as the international community, to provide the necessary assistance to all those affected by the unrest.

On behalf of the African Commission, I would like to reiterate that, under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, government, as government, has the ultimate responsibility to observe, promote and protect the human rights of all those within its borders.

  Banjul , 29 January 2008