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Human Rights Commissioner Nooke appeals for calm and peaceful action at mass rally in Kenya

03.01.2008

On the occasion of the major demonstration scheduled to be held today (3 January) by the opposition in Kenya, Günter Nooke, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement in Berlin:

"Freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right and a central element of a functioning democracy. The banning of the demonstration by the Kenyan authorities is unacceptable. At the same time I urge all Kenyans to use only non-violent means of demonstrating for their rights.

I regard the mass deployment of police and security forces as a matter of great concern. I call on the Kenyan security forces to remain calm in order to avoid escalation and further bloodshed.

The unrest in Kenya shows that, beneath the surface of an economically prosperous nation with a flourishing tourist industry, the situation has been unstable. Negative trends must be decisively countered at an early stage, and development cooperation must also be constantly re-examined with this aim in mind."

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