For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150,

Amnesty International Urges that Kenyan Authorities Vigilantly Protect Human Rights, Ahead of Wednesday's National Constitutional Referendum

Human Rights Organization Says Concerns Remain that Hate Speech is Creating Divisions that Could Lead to Violence

LONDON - With tensions high ahead of Wednesday's
national constitutional referendum, Amnesty International today called
on Kenyan political leaders to avoid inciting ethnic hatred or violence
and urged security forces to protect citizens from human rights

"Another bloodbath is not inevitable so long as Kenyan politicians act
responsibly, do not stoke ethnic tensions, and avoid making statements
that may be construed as advocating ethnic hatred or incitement to
said Justus Nyang'aya, director, Amnesty International Kenya.

Kenya's most recent elections in
2007 sparked violence and police killings in which more than 1,000
died. The United Nations estimated that more than 500,000 people were
from their homes. The drafting of a new constitution is part of the
sharing deal that ended the violence during which security and police
used excessive force and fired live ammunition into crowds to quell mass
protests and violence.

Despite repeated calls by human rights
ahead of the referendum that politicians moderate their language,
remain that hate speech has already created divisions in parts of the
that could lead to violence.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has captured various
on video using hate speech in their campaign rallies. An MP from the
Valley was reportedly arrested by police and detained for one night, on
allegations of circulating leaflets warning some people to leave his

Amnesty International remains concerned about the failure of the
to address impunity for human rights violations and crimes committed
the post-election violence in 2007 and 2008 by individuals, armed groups
and security personnel and police.

"Unless the perpetrators of human rights violations and crimes are held
to account, then such violations and crimes will continue to be
By failing to punish the perpetrators, the government is giving a green
light for further violence," said Nyang'aya.


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