Statement by the Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers,
IDPs and Migrants on the Violence in the Republic of Kenya
The announcement on 30 December 2007, by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), that the Party of National Unity, PNU candidate, Hon. Mwai Kibaki, had won the 2007 Kenyan Presidential elections, triggered massive post-election violence, which, according to reports, has so far claimed over 500 lives, and resulted in an estimated 250,000 internally displaced persons, (IDPs) and thousands of refugees fleeing to Uganda and other neighbouring countries. The violence has also caused loss to property worth millions of US dollars, thereby affecting the livelihoods of many Kenyans.
The Special Rapporteur deplores the fact that people of different backgrounds have been forcibly displaced by the ensuing violence. This is causing untold suffering and hardship to thousands of women, older persons, children, the poor and destitutes, who now find themselves in makeshift IDP camps in Kenya, and as refugees in neighbouring countries.
The Special Rapporteur is very concerned that women are reportedly giving birth under less than safe conditions in the IDP camps in some parts of the country, which threatens the lives of mothers and their newly born children. The Special Rapporteur is also very concerned that internally displaced persons are sleeping in the cold, in the open, without adequate food, clean water, medical care and shelter.
The Special Rapporteur wishes to call upon the international community, and the African Union Member States to immediately come to the assistance of the Kenyan IDPs as well as the refugees currently in Uganda and neighbouring countries.
The Special Rapporteur commends the Republic of Uganda for accommodating the refugees who crossed into the country. Apart from discharging her obligation under international and regional refugee and human rights law, Uganda has displayed a true spirit of African hospitality. He further commends the World Food Programme (WFP) for the instant mobilisation of food supplies, as well as the Kenyan Red Cross Society and other humanitarian organisations for the assistance they continue too offer the IDPs.
The Special Rapporteur calls upon the authorities of the Republic of Kenya to give all necessary assistance to IDPs, and all those who may have lost their livelihoods in the ensuing violence and urges them furthermore to cooperate with local and international humanitarian agencies working to assist IDPs in the country. .
The Special Rapporteur calls on the Kenyan Government and the ODM to heed the international mediation efforts in order to avoid a further deterioration of the humanitarian and human rights situation in Kenya.
He also calls for an investigation, and the punishment of those responsible for the election irregularities and the post election violence.
Commissioner/Special Rapporteur for Refugees,
Asylum Seekers, IDPs and Migrants in Africa.
29 January 2008
DAR ES SALAAM