Annual Report: Kenya 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Kenya 2011

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In July, bulldozers from Nairobi City Council demolished around 100 homes and 470 market stalls in Kabete, Nairobi. No official notice was given to those affected. Angry residents clashed with armed police in the following days as tensions flared in the settlement. A 74-year-old man who tried to complain about the police beating a woman was shot dead by police at close range. By the end of the year the police officer responsible for the shooting had not been brought to justice. The evictions left hundreds of people, mainly women and children, without shelter. Many slept outdoors without blankets or warm clothes and had no money to buy food or other essentials.

The government repeatedly announced plans to continue evicting thousands of people from the Mau Forest Complex. Hundreds of households evicted from the Complex in 2009 remained in makeshift displacement camps without proper access to emergency shelter and other services.

By the end of the year the government had not fulfilled its 2006 pledge to release national guidelines on evictions.

Internally displaced people

Thousands of people remained displaced as a result of the post-election violence of 2007/8. By September the government had provided resettlement land only for a few hundred households. Following evictions from the Mau Forest Complex, some 30,000 people remained displaced in a dozen makeshift camps.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

The continued closure of the Kenya/Somali border hindered the ability of the government, UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) and other organizations to address the needs of Somali asylum-seekers and refugees (see Somalia entry). The Kenyan authorities continued to prevent some Somali asylum-seekers from entering the country and to forcibly return some who crossed the border.

Overcrowding in the three Dadaab refugee camps, which host thousands of Somali refugees, continued to impede the refugees' access to shelter, water, sanitation and other essential services. The government agreed that one of the camps in Dadaab could be extended and a fourth camp established.

The Kenyan authorities continued to deny reports that they were involved in the forcible recruitment of refugees as soldiers in support of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in 2009. Some of those recruited from the camps in Dadaab were less than 18 years old.

Unlawful transfers of suspects

Between July and September up to 12 people suspected of involvement in bomb attacks in Kampala were arrested and transferred from Kenya to Uganda outside established legal procedures. These include extradition procedures which require reciprocal arrest warrants in both countries and judicial hearings. Kenyan authorities also ignored habeas corpus applications for some of the suspects who were unlawfully transferred to Uganda and charged with terrorism and murder (see Uganda entry).

Death penalty

Courts continued to impose the death penalty, although no executions were reported. The death penalty was retained in the new Constitution.

In July, the Court of Appeal, Kenya's highest court, declared that the mandatory application of the death penalty for the crime of murder is unconstitutional as it is "antithetical to the Constitutional provisions on the protection against inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment and fair trial". The Court expressly stated that the reasoning behind its rejection of the mandatory death penalty for the crime of murder might also apply to other capital crimes such as treason, robbery with violence and attempted robbery with violence. However, the Court ruled that the death penalty itself is constitutional.