Kenya: Human Rights Watch Calls for Action On Abuses Ahead of Polls

According to Human Rights Watch in a report released today,the Kenyan government's limited progress on promised reforms and failure to address ongoing and past human rights abuses have contributed to tensions across Kenya prior to national elections on March 4, 2013.

The report states that, authorities should take urgent steps, including the arrest and fair trial of all those who directly incite or organize violence, to help ensure the elections are peaceful, free and fair.

Human Rights Watch recommended to theKenyan government to minimize the risks of violence in March, deploy police in adequate numbers to areas of potential conflict and ensure that they perform their duties impartially and with full respect for the law. Criminal justice authorities should promptly investigate any violent episodes, where there is evidence, the authorities should prosecute anyone, including government officials and candidates for office, suspected of inciting, planning, or organizing violence.

The African Union (AU) and Kenya's key partners should apply sustained and coordinated pressure on Kenya's government to ensure free, fair, and peaceful elections the statement said. It is critically important for the Kenyan government to promptly investigate and prosecute crimes committed during previous, current, and future rounds of political violence, and other elections-related human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said.

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