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Minority Rights Group welcomes ICC ruling, calls for robust protection of minorities in Kenya
Minority Rights Group
31 January 2012

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) welcomes the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) ruling requiring four prominent Kenyans to stand trial for crimes against humanity following post-election violence in 2007.

MRG urges the government of Kenya to specifically protect vulnerable communities as the ICC decision may create tensions and possible reprisals. Kenyans are split along political and ethnic lines regarding the ICC case with supporters of those on trial viewing it as political intrigue.

‘This week’s ICC announcement is the first step towards providing justice for the victims of the election violence in 2007. However, tensions will remain unless the final point of the Annan-brokered plan, which was for the government to address the root causes of the violence, in particular historical grievances over expropriation of land, is implemented,’ said Chris Chapman, MRG’s Head of Conflict Prevention Programme.

‘It is particularly important to ensure that the land rights of indigenous peoples, who in many cases have lived on their land for centuries, but do not have official land title papers, are protected,’ Chapman added. (…)

What started as a case of supporters of different candidates gathering to express their reactions to the election results, took an ugly ethnic twist as revenge attacks started targeting people from particular ethnic communities. (…)

Soon ethnic violence became widespread, particularly in the Rift Valley, causing destruction of property, loss of an estimated 1,100 lives and displacement of at least 650,000 people. It required the intervention of international mediators under the leadership of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to broker an agreement between the opposing political movements.

‘The Kenya experience, while seemingly isolated, illuminates many case studies in Africa where politicians continue to use ethnicity to gain political advantage and minorities and indigenous peoples fall prey because they are politically and economically marginalised,’ said Chapman.

Read full press release.

 

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