Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kenya: Rights Defenders Under Attack

The nation of Kenya has endured a lot, particularly in the past month, and it appears that things are not on track to settle down. Recent events have shown that supporters of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are being persecuted, sometimes even by their own government. This is a violation of both human rights and justice, as people, oftentimes witnesses to crimes, are being threatened and sometimes killed for speaking out against injustices perpetuated by the government. Every person should be guaranteed the right to peacefully protest things that they see as unjust.
The Kenyan government has shown sense of urgency in protecting people speaking out for human rights. If the government does not start standing behind the freedom of human rights activists, more violence will certainly transpire. In my opinion, it is almost as if the government is encouraging violence against human rights activists by allowing the publishing names of activists on social media outlets. This, in effect, puts a bullseye on the backs of those activists, as it allows criminals to hone in on them.
Several cases have shown a disturbing trend of violence and witness tampering. One activist was shot just outside of his own home after receiving death threats from multiple sources for several months. All the meanwhile, police look the other way and do nothing to protect people who they know well are in imminent danger. Witnesses are being intimidated and corrupted by outside sources that either use threats or bribery to get them to not testify or falsely testify in defense of the Kenyan political figures, who face charges for human rights violations. I feel as though action needed to ensure that human rights activists in Kenya can speak their minds without the threat of death looming over their heads.

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