Kenya: Request for Intervention in Favour of Kenyan Children

Summary: Defence for Children International recently I
sent a statement on behalf of the
International Executive Council of Defence for
Children International to the Kenyan
Government calling for urgent intervention
regarding grave child rights' violations in two
specific incidents occurring in the country.

Defence for Children International expresses its grave concern regarding
the situation of children in Kenya: Urgent request for intervention

Defence for Children International (DCI) is a worldwide movement, set up
during the International Year of the Child (1979) to ensure on-going,
practical, systematic and concerted international action directed towards
promoting and protecting the rights of the child, as articulated in the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Through its
International Secretariat in Geneva, its International Executive Council and
its national sections in 40 countries around the globe, it implements and
monitors child rights' projects on an international, national, regional and
local level.

On behalf of Defence for Children International (DCI), its International
Executive Council requests URGENT intervention related to the following
two situations in Kenya.

Brief description of situation 1:

Based on information received by DCI-Kenyan section, a total of 95 people,
many of whom were children and infants, have been massacred in the
Turbi area of the Marsabit District of Northern Kenya during the first and
second week of July 2005 by organised armed groups from among the
pastoralist Gabra and Borana tribes. In this semi-arid, remote area, there
have long been clashes and hostility between the Gabra and Borana over
the control of scarce water wells and grazing lands.

To cite two incidents of the information received, on Tuesday 12 July 2005,
a group of Boranas raided a Gabra village in Turbi, about 580 kilometres
(360 miles) northeast of Nairobi, killing at least 56 people including 22
children. This was followed by a revenge attack by a group of Gabras who
killed nine Boranas, including four children, after pulling them from a car
driven by a priest. According to the priest’s testimony, they were
bludgeoned to death with stones and rocks before him.

DCI-Kenya reports that 14,378 people have thus far been displaced as a
result of the massacres in the Marsabit District. The majority of these are
women and children. Normal school activities have been disrupted as a
result. A general situation of insecurity reigns in the affected area.

Brief description of situation 2:

Based on further information received by DCI-Kenyan section, several
incidences of forced mass evictions have been carried out by Kenyan
government security personnel at various places in the country in the past
6 months. One forced mass eviction of 10,000 families in the Mau Narok
areas of the Rift Valley Province in the Southwest of Kenya took place from
27th June 2005 until the 12th July 2005. Government officials claim that the
forest and its environs are water catchment areas and thus should be
environmentally protected sites. However people are being evicted using
force and no alternative housing is being offered. Many victims have lost
their livelihoods, property and means of shelter. Some 4,600 semi-
permanent houses and seven primary schools were either burnt or
destroyed during the evictions. Among the evicted children are 1,721
pupils, some of whom were due to sit the National Exams at the end this

In another reported incident, some 3000 people were forcibly evicted from
a 200 acre land in Timau Forest in Meru Central District of Eastern Province
on the 4th and 5th February 2005. This had been their home for 20 years.
1000 houses and a primary school were burnt down by police and other
government personnel. The raids occurred at dawn when families including
children, were still asleep. Five children are still not accounted for and the
families are sheltering in shacks on a road reserve at Ngushishi Market in

Action requested

Defence for Children International is gravely concerned about the situation
of children as a result of the above described incidents. According to
international child rights standards, in particular the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC-1989), the basic rights of
children affected by these incidents to protection, safety, survival, health,
development and education are being seriously violated.

Thus, with regard to the aforementioned incidents, Defence for Children
International calls upon the Kenyan government:

i. To take all necessary measures to guarantee the rights of the affected
children as articulated in the UNCRC, which Kenya is a state party to and
has ratified, with particular attention to their right to life, survival and
development (Article 6), their right to non-discrimination (Article 2), their
right to health (Article 24) and their right to education (Article 28) and
Article 16.

ii. In upholding Article 3 of the UNCRC, in that the best interest of the child
shall be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children, to
address the root causes of the persistent insecurity in the Marsabit area.

iii. To abide by the provisions stipulated in the international human rights
standards when carrying out any action, including the aforementioned
eviction campaign in the Mau Narok area and other areas.

iv. To order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances
of these events, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial
and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law.

v. To observe and respect the Concluding Observations of the Committee
on the Rights Of The Child on the Country Report submitted by Kenya
on 13 January 2000, under article 44 of the UNCRC.

On behalf of the International Executive Council of DCI

Rifat Odeh Kassis
President of Defence for Children International

Geneva, 3 August 2005


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