10 May 2006

Kenya: Rights NGOs Oppose the New Bill On Terrorism

Nairobi — Human rights groups yesterday said they were opposed to the Anti-terrorism Bill 2006.

The organisations, which form the Kenya Human Rights Network (K-Hurinet), said Kenyans were not consulted during the formulation of the Bill.

K-Hurinet said the Bill infringed on personal and communal rights.

"Under this Bill, foreign forces will have supremacy over their Kenyan counterparts," Peter Kiama, a programme officer at the Kenya Human Rights Commission, said.

Late last month, the United States of America accused Kenya of registering "little or no progress" in the fight against terrorism.

The US cited the disbanding of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, established in 2004 to enhance police prosecutors' skills on counter terrorism, as an example of laxity in fighting terrorism. Yesterday, Kiama said the Bill allowed the Internal Security minister, Mr John Michuki, to outlaw political parties by merely publishing a gazette notice.

Michuki, he added, does not have to state reasons for outlawing the parties. Kiama, through a statement at a Press conference in Nairobi, said the Bill also introduces indefinite detention.

He appealed to MPs attending the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly in Nairobi to discuss the Bill. "This war presents the biggest challenge to the realisation of fundamental human rights world over," said the statement.

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