Kenya: Attempts to shut down human rights groups unlawful and irresponsible
Responding to attempts by Kenya’s NGO regulator to shut down two human rights organizations – the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the African Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) - Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:
“The NGO Coordination Board’s decision must be seen for what it really is - a cynical attempt to discredit human rights organizations. This is an unlawful and irresponsible move in this critical post-election period.
This assault on human rights groups must be immediately halted.
“This assault on human rights groups must be immediately halted. The Kenyan authorities must rein in the NGO Coordination Board and not allow such grotesque witch-hunts to take place.”
The NGO Coordination Board announced it was deregistering the KHRC on 14 August, accusing the organization of operating illegal bank accounts, failing to pay its taxes, employing foreigners without work permits, and making secret payments to its board members, one of whom is the director of Amnesty’s East Africa regional office.
On 15 August, it sent a separate letter to the Director of Criminal Investigations accusing AfriCoG of failing to register as an NGO, and asking him to close it down and arrest its directors and members.
Both organizations have been involved in election monitoring in recent weeks.