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Journalists and Online Commentators Face Persecution for Critical Reporting

Celebrating World Press Freedom Day in Rwanda may well require journalists, activists, and diplomats to toe the line of the government’s ever-growing list of forbidden topics. In a country where the president coolly gives speeches gloating about the…
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame speaks during the state funeral of Kenya’s former president, Daniel arap Moi, at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, February 11, 2020.
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Journalists Assaulted, Threatened, Harassed

Kenyan media didn’t have much to celebrate on World Press Freedom Day. Kenyan police and senior state officials have continued to intimidate, threaten, and physically attack journalists reporting on sensitive issues, and authorities have done…
Ferry passengers flee from police firing tear gas, after new measures aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus instead caused a crowd to form outside the ferry in Mombasa, Kenya Friday, March 27, 2020.
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Journalists Face Unjustifiable Restrictions, Threats

Many Kenyan journalists and rights activists travelled this week to Ethiopia for a summit to mark the World Press Freedom Day celebrations. It’s a sign of how things have changed that some Kenyan journalists told us how impressed they…
A Kenyan journalist participates in a protest in the capital, Nairobi, against draconian new laws restricting media freedom that were presented in parliament, December 3, 2013.
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Authorities Should Allow Open Reporting on Issues of Public Interest

Kenya joined the rest of the world to celebrate freedom of the press this week under a hostile and uncertain environment for the media. Despite numerous public promises by President Uhuru Kenyatta to safeguard press freedom, the…
An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.
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Journalists Face Intimidation Around Election

Duncan Khaemba, a television journalist in Kenya, was reporting on cases of violence in Kibera, a low-income neighborhood in Nairobi, when he was arrested with his colleague Otieno Willis on August 12, and subsequently released. Media…
An anti-riot police officer aims a teargas canister while journalists cover an anti-corruption protest in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. November 3, 2016.
Report
Summary The mayor said, “All thieves must be killed.” He said it was an order. −Witness to the execution of Fulgence Rukundo on December 6, 2016 Rwandan security forces summarily executed at least…
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Beatings, Harassment of Journalists and Bloggers Go Uninvestigated

(Nairobi) – Authorities in Kenya have committed a range of abuses against journalists reporting on sensitive issues, threatening freedom of expression ahead of elections slated for August 8, 2017, Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19…
A Kenyan journalist participates in a protest in the capital, Nairobi, against draconian new laws restricting media freedom that were presented in parliament, December 3, 2013.
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Authorities in Kenya have committed a range of abuses against journalists reporting on sensitive issues, threatening freedom of expression ahead of elections slated for August 8, 2017. Journalists and bloggers reporting on corruption, disputed land…
Report
Summary On November 3, 2015, Joseph Nkaissery, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for interior and national coordination, appeared before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee to answer questions about millions of dollars his ministry allegedly…
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Norway Deported Nkusi, Who Faces Prosecution in Rwanda

Joseph Nkusi is a Rwandan blogger who has sharply criticized Rwanda’s government, made false and inflammatory claims about the 1994 genocide, and founded a radical opposition group while living in exile in Norway. Next Monday, he is slated to go on trial…
A general view of Rwanda's capital Kigali, March 26, 2014.
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Kenyan security forces have forcibly disappeared at least 34 people in the past two years during abusive counterterrorism operations in Nairobi and in northeastern Kenya. The military was actively involved in raiding homes and compounds to arrest people…
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It has been a tough year so far for the media in Kenya, with journalists and bloggers bearing the brunt of what seems to be a concerted government effort to silence the press. On January 19, for example, Kenyan blogger Edwin…
Joseph Ole Nkaissery, Secretary for Internal Security and Coordination of National Government, Kenya.
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Human Rights Watch Film Festival

(Nairobi) – The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will mark its fourth year in Nairobi on November 10-14, 2014, with a program of films to raise awareness and spark critical reflection and debate while encouraging activism. The five films to be screened…
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Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who is giving a speech at London’s Chatham House today, is viewed by his admirers as the man who saved the nation – who brought stability and rapid economic development to a country devastated by genocide now 20 years ago.…
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The human rights situation in Kenya has deteriorated over the past five years and the government has failed to make substantial progress on key reforms. The lack of accountability for serious violations by police and other security forces remains a…
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President Barack Obama’s second presidential visit to Africa kicks off in Senegal, with stops in South Africa and Tanzania. This is a good regional mix highlighting the development and governance successes that are likely to be main themes of his trip.…
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Protect Free Speech, Carry Out Reforms

(Nairobi) – Kenya’s new administration should take urgent steps in four key areas to address longstanding human rights challenges, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The administration should ensure that abusive security forces are held…
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Ugandan Government Should Ensure Safety of Rwandan Exiles

(New York) – The Ugandan authorities should open an effective and transparent investigation into the murder of a Rwandan journalist on November 30, 2011, and identify and bring those responsible to justice, Human Rights Watch said today. The Ugandan…
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Oral Statement at the 17th Session of the Human Rights Council - June 7th, 2011

Human Rights Watch welcomes the outcome of the UPR of Rwanda, in particular its recommendations on freedom of expression, legal reforms and the independence of the judiciary.   We also welcome the Rwandan government's undertakings to ensure that human…