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Kenya: attempts to shut down two human rights organisations 'unlawful and irresponsible'

Responding to attempts by Kenya’s NGO regulator to shut down two human rights organisations - the African Centre for Open Governance and the Kenya National Human Rights Commission - Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

“The NGO Coordination Board’s decision must be seen for what it really is - a cynical attempt to discredit human rights organisations. This is an unlawful and irresponsible move in this critical post-election period.

“This assault on human rights groups must be immediately halted. The Kenyan authorities must rein in the NGO Coordination Board and not allow such grotesque witch-hunts to take place.”

Both organisations have been involved in election monitoring in recent weeks.

Two attempted closures in two days

Earlier today, the NGO Coordination Board sent a letter to Kenya’s Director of Criminal Investigations accusing the African Centre for Open Governance of failing to register as an NGO, and asking him to close it down and arrest its directors and members.

Meanwhile, yesterday the NGO Coordination Board also announced it was deregistering the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, accusing the organisation of operating illegal bank accounts, failing to pay its taxes, employing foreigners without work permits, and making secret payments to its board members, one of whom is the director of Amnesty’s East Africa regional office.

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