Associated Press

June 13, 1997

Kenya: Amnesty Targeting Government

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Responding to charges of gross human rights violations, the government accused Amnesty International on Friday of trying to stir up opposition in Kenya.

In a statement, the government contended that human rights abuses occur around the world, and said the watchdog group was unfairly picking on Kenya.

Amnesty's secretary-general, reporting on a two-week mission in the east African country, said earlier this week that police brutality and torture in custody are commonplace in Kenya. Pierre Sane also accused the government of frequent harassment of the political opposition, journalists and trade unions.

While Kenya at the time rejected the accusations, Sane said the government's contention that it prosecutes those responsible for human rights violations ``simply does not square up with the reality on the ground.''

In its statement Friday, the government said Sane's comments Wednesday were ``calculated to incite Kenyans against their government.''

The government reiterated that it does not tolerate human rights abuses, and added: ``If Amnesty wanted to be fair and objective, it should have recognized the positive steps that the government has taken to deal with law enforcement officers who have gone overboard in the execution of their duties.''

Kenya has laws against abuses, the government said, but they ``are no guarantee that there will be no violations.''

``As other reports by Amnesty International in other countries show, these abuses are worldwide. Although the government does not seek to justify them ... the only action (it) can take is to redress them when they occur.''