Post-elections Violence

What is affected
Housing Social/public
Housing private
Land Social/public
Access to healthcare, school, etc.
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 27 December 2007
Region AFA [ Africa anglophone ]
Country Kenya

Affected persons

Total 663921
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution

Stop eviction. Authorities provide reparation for those dispossessed, injured and killed.

Details KenyaReport.aspx
Forced eviction
Land losses

- Land area (square meters)

- Total value
Housing losses
- Number of homes 78254
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Private party
Brief narrative Displacement due to political and ethnic violence

Ethnic clashes have been a feature of Kenyan elections since the first multi-party general elections in 1992. More than 15,000 people were killed and almost 300,000 displaced in Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western provinces between 1991 and 1996. In the run-up to the 1997 elections, new violence erupted on the coast, killing more than 100 people and displacing over 100,000. Between 1999 and 2005 politically-motivated violence continued to flare up, mostly in Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western provinces (OHCHR, February 2012; RCK 2005).

Kenya’s worst incidence of internal displacement took place following the disputed presidential elections of December 2007, when nearly 664,000 people fled their homes during two months of intense inter-ethnic violence which cost 1,300 lives (Parliament of Kenya, 6 November 2013). Around 350,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) took refuge in 118 camps, while 300,000 people found shelter with host communities or in rented accommodation in urban and per-urban areas and were considered as “integrated” (OHCHR, February 2012).

The violence was brought to an end by a compromise negotiated by the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities. This led to the signing in February 2008 of a power-sharing agreement enshrined in the National Accord and Reconciliation Act. The agreement acknowledged that to end Kenya’s cycle of electoral violence and displacement, it would be necessary to address impunity for human rights violations, reform the police, tackle poverty and the inequitable distribution of resources and address long-standing injustices (ICG, February 2008). Separate commissions were set up to investigate the conduct of the elections and the violence surrounding it, but the Government has been slow to act on their recommendations (AJLS, 2009). As efforts to establish a local mechanism to bring those responsible for the violence to justice failed, the International Criminal Court began to investigate. Trials against the current President and his Prime Minister for crimes against humanity are ongoing, despite the Kenya National Assembly’s decision to withdraw from the Court (OCHA, 10 May 2014; Jurist, 26 September 2013).

Source: Human Rights Watch Kenya: Stop Forcing Displaced People to Return Home Government Should Ensure Returns Are Voluntary and Secure (London, May 23, 2008) – The Kenyan government should immediately stop forced returns of internally displaced people and ensure that all returns are safe and voluntary, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 5, the Kenyan government launched Operation “Rudi Nyumbani” (Return Home), aimed at returning thousands of men, women, and children to their homes, which they fled in the violent aftermath of the December 2007 elections. However, on May 8, the provincial commissioner for Rift Valley province announced that all displaced persons camps in the province would be closed within three weeks. Since the announcement, there have been mounting reports of forced returns and inadequate services once people reach their homes. “How can you have a voluntary return program with a deadline?” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Internally displaced people have the right to return voluntarily, when they feel safe, not when it suits the government.” More than 250,000 people were newly displaced by the post-election violence in January and February 2008, and more than 100,000 were still in camps as of May 8. Many people fear that their home areas remain unsafe and that adequate reconciliation between hostile communities has not taken place. In the past weeks, there have been attacks on returning persons in Trans-Nzoia and Molo districts. Moreover, many people are being forced to return to areas where there is no food or shelter and the government has not provided any services. In Trans-Nzoia district, in the northern Rift Valley, international nongovernmental organizations described to Human Rights Watch how police officers forcefully emptied camps in the Kitale area and ordered displaced people to leave. For instance, on May 13 in Kitale town, aid workers witnessed armed police dismantling occupied tents and the district commissioner beating a woman who refused to return home. This account is just one of many incidents in which displaced persons have been driven out of camps in recent weeks without food or shelter. Many have gone back to the camps or simply set up informal camps closer to their home areas because their homes are still not safe. A man was killed by hostile neighbours in Patwaka when he returned two weeks ago. A group of 145 people who were moved from Explosion camp to Kitwamba on May 13 returned to Explosion because there was no food. According to the Nairobi-based National Internally Displaced Persons Network of Kenya (IDP Network), residents in Kuresoi complained that they had no shelter and no food upon reaching the places where their homes used to be; some went back to the camps on foot. Newspapers have reported at least two people were killed in Molo district by hostile neighbors unhappy at their return. The UN’s Guiding Principles on Internally Displaced Persons state that “Internally displaced persons … have the right to be protected against forcible return to or resettlement in any place where their life, safety, liberty and/or health would be at risk.” The Guiding Principles reflect international humanitarian law as well as human rights law, and provide a consolidated set of international standards governing the treatment of the internally displaced. Kenya has ratified the Great Lakes Pact which incorporates the Guiding Principles. Forcefully returning displaced persons is not only a violation of the rights of those who had already been forced to flee their homes, but it also risks fuelling further conflict in an already volatile environment. The situation of internally displaced persons in Kenya is complex and requires a much broader examination and response. Many of the recently displaced people, as well as many others, were previously displaced from their homes and were never compensated for the losses they suffered.

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