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Defending Human Rights
A wide array of local human rights organizations were engaged in monitoring human rights in Kenya, but some came under threat during the year, particularly those associated with the NCEC. On January 19, a leading member of the NCEC was abducted by four armed plainclothesmen who drove him around in his car and threatened him for approximately two hours before abandoning him and taking his NCEC documents. In March, President Moi threatened to deregister a number of human rights NGOs following their support of the NCEC, including the Kenya Human Rights Commission. On January 27, a peaceful demonstration held in Nairobi to protest the outbreak of political violence in the Rift Valley was violently dispersed by police and two members of the Release Political Prisoners (RPP) group were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly. The charges were dropped on March 13.

On May 22, a member of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and a journalist were charged with theft and released on bail after being held incommunicado for four days. The arrests took place after a new pro-government group called NGO Watch accused them of stealing an advance copy of a confidential report and some personal property. Following the arrests, the offices of the Kenya Human Rights Commission were searched.

Following the de-registration of five Islamic relief agencies in September (temporarily stayed by a court order), the head of the NGO Coordinating Committee stated that other NGOs would be investigated and their registrations would be revoked. President Moi also announced that the government would reduce the number of NGOs in Kenya, raising concerns that some NGOs may be targeted for speaking out against government abuse. Shortly after, eleven more NGOs were de-registered for allegedy “deviating from functions they were registered for,” and for “engaging in political matters.”

The government-sponsored Human Rights Standing Committee, formed in May 1996, handed its sixth confidential report to President Moi, but otherwise remained silent on abuses occurring in the country.




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Sierra Leone

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Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Abduction and Enslavement of Ugandan Children

Human Rights Causes of the Famine in Sudan


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