Kenyan rights activists urge UN to help settle crisis
( dpa ) - Two Kenyan human rights advocates called on the United Nations Friday to enter the fray to end Kenya's violence by dealing with issues of peace and democracy instead of simply calling for calm while post-election fighting continued.
Maina Kiai, who chairs the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, said at UN headquarters in New York that the UN Security Council should put Kenya on its agenda "before it's too late."
"It is not enough to call for calm, the UN should do more and analyze issues of peace and democracy because both are linked," said Kiai, who described the situation in his country as a "very deep crisis" that will remain until a solution is found to meet the people's demands for justice, education, jobs and healthcare.
Kiai and Muthoni Wanyeki, a political scientist and head of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, a non-governmental organization, said President Mwai Kibaki should sit down with the opposition to negotiate a "credible solution" to the crisis.
Kiai, whose human rights group was created by an act of the Kenyan parliament, said Kenyans regard the presidency as the ultimate power to deal with society's ills and want their leaders to be elected in the most democratic way.
Since the political crisis erupted in late December over disputed presidential election results, the UN has been trying to bring humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of Kenyans displaced by the fighting, while UN leaders have called for all parties to show restraints. The fighting has killed more than 700 people.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is now leading negotiations in Nairobi between Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga on behalf of the African Union.