Civil society organizations working in Africa call to end intimidations and hate campaigns against civil society organisations in Kenya
28 March 2013
We, the under signed non-governmental organizations working to promote human rights and good governance in our respective countries and regionally in Africa, are gravely concerned about incidences of intimidations and hate campaigns directed at members of Kenya’s civil society increasingly occurring after the filing of a Civil society representative Petition in the Supreme Court of Kenya on the 16th March 2013, challenging the process and legitimacy of the March 4th 2013 General Elections.
It has come to our attention that social media hate campaigns, which include using human rights activists’ passport photographs and their personal information, are being used to threaten and incite hatred against prominent Kenyan human rights defenders for challenging, the conduct of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the management of the March 4th 2013 General Election in Kenya. These messages of hate and incitement are worrisome because they single out individual members of civil society for either condemnation or reprisals.
We express our grave concerns over these hateful messages being spread in Kenya and at the global level. We find the propagation of the said messages outrageous as the members of civil society who filed the petitions are exercising their constitutionally given right to go to court when they have concerns as provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya, 2010 and under other national, regional and international instruments protecting electoral rights to which Kenya is party.
We strongly condemn these hateful messages and call upon the groups and/or individuals in Kenya, including those who remain unidentified as of yet, and globally to refrain from issuing such threats and from propagating hatred towards members of the civil society in Kenya.
We further call upon the Kenyan government:
(i) To investigate and prosecute groups and/or individuals intimidating members of civil society in Kenya;
(ii)To protect and guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological well-being of members of civil society in Kenya in line with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, (…);
(iii) To ensure in all circumstances, the respect for individual rights and fundamental freedoms in the Republic of Kenya in accordance with national, regional and international standards and human rights instruments ratified and domesticated by Kenya. (…)