REPORT ON POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN KENYA – UN Human Rights Team

A pdf document has been made available to Ushahidi by the UN Human Rights Team, you can download the Final OHCHR Kenya report 19 March2008.pdf
Below is the summary and press release.

UN HUMAN RIGHTS TEAM ISSUES REPORT ON POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN KENYA

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report on Wednesday following a three week fact-finding mission focussing on the violence that engulfed Kenya in the wake of the disputed Presidential election on 27 December 2007.

The report suggests that greater accountability and an end to impunity will be key to addressing the underlying problems and preventing further outbreaks, thereby reinforcing the ongoing reconciliation process and power-sharing agreement.

The 20-page report by an OHCHR fact-finding team that visited Kenya from 6 to 28 February concludes that, while irregularities in the election process were the primary trigger of the violence, a number of underlying causes – including discrimination, poverty and disenfranchisement – fuelled the crisis.

The team visited 15 of the worst affected locations, and interviewed 188 victims and witnesses of post-electoral violence, as well as members of the Government and opposition parties, law enforcement agencies, members of civil society, NGOs, UN agencies, diplomats and other interested parties.

The report identifies three “distinct but sometimes concurrent patterns of violence – spontaneous, organised and retaliatory.” The first phase began immediately after the announcement of the contested election results, when opposition supporters took to the streets in protest, especially in Kisumu and the Nairobi slum areas; the second wave consisted of organised attacks in the Rift Valley which appear to have targeted non-Kalenjin communities and those perceived as opponents of the opposition ODM party, including the Kikuyu, Kisii and Luyha communities. In retaliation, gangs of Kikuyu youths subsequently attacked non-Kikuyu groups in Naivasha, Nakuru and Mathare

In all, more than 1,200 Kenyans were reported killed, thousands more injured, over 300,000 people displaced and around 42,000 houses and many businesses were looted or destroyed. A significant number of cases of sexual violence were also reported.

Noting that under international law, states bear the primary responsibility for protecting the rights of all individuals within their territory, the OHCHR report indicates that in most districts, the police were unable to maintain and enforce law and order. According to most of the victims and witnesses interviewed, the police were often present but were either overwhelmed or passive during the attacks.

However, the fact-finding team also received detailed information describing how in various places, most notably in the Kibera slum area of Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisumu, the policing of demonstrations and crowds was conducted with excessive use of force resulting in death and injuries of many, including children. According to the Government’s figures, 123 people were killed by the police, although an analysis of hospital reports suggests the actual number may be higher. The OHCHR team notes that, at the time of the mission, only one police officer was under investigation for brutality, and says the disparity sends a clear message to the public of impunity for police abuse.

According to the report, impunity is deeply entrenched in Kenya and is not confined to the police alone. The report concludes that consistent failure to act on the findings and recommendations of various state-commissioned inquiries and studies have distanced the citizens from state institutions. Most of those interviewed identified the failure to prosecute perpetrators (including planners and organisers) of past violence and human rights violations – and the consequent message this gives to perpetrators that they are able to act in total impunity – as “major contributing factors to the violence.”

Noting that the violence had caused massive displacement, the report also stressed the need for the authorities to ensure that displaced people are able to freely decide when or whether to return, resettle or reintegrate through a voluntary and informed choice, free from political considerations or other pressures.

The report welcomed the 28 February power-sharing agreement reached within the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process, and noted that important commitments have been made in the context of the dialogue to carry out reforms to address long-standing issues, including inequalities and accountability, constitutional and institutional reforms. The accords include an Independent Review Committee to investigate all aspects of the 2007 Presidential electoral process; a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission; a constitutional review process, and a Commission of Inquiry with a mandate to investigate the circumstances surrounding the violence that occurred during the two months following the election.

The OHCHR report makes a number of recommendations related to these processes, laying a strong emphasis on accountability.

Failure to carry out reforms could undermine the fragile improvement in security that has taken hold since the signing of the power-sharing agreement, the report said.

53 Responses to “REPORT ON POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN KENYA – UN Human Rights Team”

  1. Julius Cherutich

    Hague or no Hague, if the government cannot build institutions the public can trust, the violence will erupt again and this time it will be worse. These country needs reforms especially in the electoral body, the Judiciary and the police force. The suspected masterminds of the violnce are just victims of public relations to the world unless proven guilty.

  2. Those who love peace and justice will pursue these virtues at all cost for the good of all Kenyans while those who embrace the culture of violence will apply it at the slightest opportunity for thier own ends

  3. Ocampo did a shoddy work in Kenya. His list of suspected perpetrators is drawn from KNCHR and Waki report which had tribal arithmetic of exonerating those from ethnic which is highly represented in the commissions while indicting those less represented in the commissions. It is a pity that Kenya’s Tribalism has been taken to higher institutions like ICC. While civil societies would like to show off that they are above tribalism in their talk, what they present to foreigners is purely influenced by their tribal inclinations.

  4. Melody

    you people did a good job realising the names of the people ..but how can you people involve the youth???the future leaders of kenya

  5. KOGO H

    A strike always in school is engineered by one or two men and the all school will rampage with all destruction, how then could we forget what instigated violence in 2007/08? Kibaki with his allies must tell us how the stealing of election was done, the next then confess.

  6. many innocent kenyans are rotting yet we kenyans are busy praying that the suspects may avoid the punishment.may God who who see the darkest pits,who is always justice,who care for the poor and the rich be the perfect judge in this.may kenyans forget their tribes and live peaceful to the end of times.

  7. MUCHOKI

    THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BE WITH US NOW AND FOREVER MORE AMEN

  8. martin mariga w

    the report should be acted upon to avoid a repeat act!!im proudly kikuyu but higher than that,i am Kenyan and respect all equally and we should act intelligently and not blindly fight our brothers and sisters!!

  9. J M Kihunyu

    Now that the victims were named and charged in ICC my concern is who were the real perpetrators consindering that the two principles in our country were competing for presidency yet none of them was named as suspect, was Ocampo realy serious?

  10. Charles Obat

    Kenyans should not see a repeat of violence again politicians should tone down their utterances for the healing to take place

  11. Hem Hemy

    Am just wondering where we are heading as a nation. I wonder what types of breeds are our so called political leaders. People are dying of hunger n they’re after salary increament.some minister need sucking wth immediate effect;Kajwang, Ongeri. jst embezzling money 2 buy voters come nxt year. BURE KABISA.kenyans should learn 2 bkam a civilized society.

  12. Clearly,the elite have let us down–whether it be the political elite,the intellectual/military/or business and professional elite.Why not a sovereign national conference where all Kenyans participate–and possibly moderated by the Commonwealth as an impartial entity.

  13. KUDOS.THAT IS THE KENYA WE WANT.PPLE WHO WOULD VOLONTERE TO GET TO THE ROOTS OF OUR SETBACKS.THE ACTION OF CONVICTING AND AND DETAINING THOSE PROVEN GUILTY.WE THOUGHT IT WAS AN OBVIUOS JOKE.

  14. mandela koyanda

    as a kenyan i blv it whould be fair and just if those who were involved in post election violence be punished coz many lives were lost and even properties

  15. lugagah

    to what extent were the pre election polls to blame for the post elections violence? can the conduct of the polls be anyway regarded as unethical? wat has been done about it and can more be done?

  16. amisi

    reconcilliation would have served better if we had considered GOD’S laws. hague will worsen the state of peace in this country. ruto and uhuru should consider the peace of this nation if they have to rule kenya.

  17. kemuntoh

    The icc has the authority to step in by virtue of kenya ratifying the Rome statute of the Icc and the purpose of this statute is end impunity of perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It has the right to exercise its jurisdiction when such perpetrators are pardoned for such autrocities. When we say reconciliation , what happens to those kenyans who lost thier lives, those who lost their loved ones, those who are still IDPS. Justice should not only be done but it should be seen to be done

  18. let us forget the past and think of ways on how to solve the issues and have a new way of life and country.

  19. austine ogada

    we are approaching election,let us not see a repeat of the past; kenyans against kenyans

  20. petet josmwa

    let us not be fools,not to fight among ourselves while our leaders who make us to are just enjoying themselves we are suffering.so let us leave like brothers and sisters and no to value our tribes.let us leave as one Kenya for better tomorrow…………..

  21. jahsto jahsto

    i want a kenya that will be my home but not a battle field lets all learn that KENYA is a bigger compared to few individuals

  22. Immaculate .J

    It is so saddening that we as youth allowed these so called leaders to take our lives for hire at our own expense.The closest they get to experiencing our pain is by watching it from the comfort of their homes. Tafadhali tuerevuke.Kenya is bigger than you n me. Choose peace.