Booker, Flake, Durbin, Coons Introduce Resolution Urging Kenyan Government to Protect Human Rights, Promote Democratic Governance Ahead of President Kenyatta’s Visit to White House
Senators call on President Trump, Secretary Pompeo to Press Kenyatta on Human Rights ConcernsAugust 23, 2018
Washington, DC – Today, in advance of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the White House on August 27th, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, along with Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced a bipartisan resolution to urge the government of Kenya to respect human rights and promote transparent, democratic governance.
Citing Kenya’s elections last year which were marred by severe human rights violations--including excessive and deadly force against protesters and suppression of the free press-- as well as recent arrests of members of the political opposition, the Senators urged President Trump and Secretary Pompeo to press President Kenyatta on his government’s commitment to protect human rights and promote democratic governance going forward.
The full text of the resolution is available here.
“Kenya is a critical ally and strategic partner of the United States—and that is why we must encourage the current government under President Kenyatta to do more to protect human rights and promote our shared fundamental democratic ideals,” said Booker. “I am disappointed that the White House statement announcing the meeting between President Trump and President Kenyatta made no mention of the need to protect human rights, holding security forces accountable for excessive use of force, or the importance of respecting a free press. I urge President Trump to raise these concerns in his meeting with President Kenyatta.”
Booker is also an original cosponsor of Senate Resolution 228 which called for credible, peaceful, free, and fair presidential elections in Kenya. Following the completion of the 2017 election and the subsequent annulment of the results by the Kenyan Supreme Court in September 2017, Booker issued a series of statements reaffirming support for the electoral process and urging all parties to peacefully accept the ruling of the Supreme Court and take the necessary steps to hold new elections. In February 2018, amidst a deterioration of the political situation in Kenya, Booker once again raised concerns over the government’s shut down of media outlets and failure to comply with court orders and called on government and opposition leaders to engage with one another and take meaningful steps to unify the country.