Opposition demonstrators tear-gassed in Kenya

A man makes his way through rising tear gas fired by riot police officers to disperse supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga in Nairobi, on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 17 November 2017
0

Opposition demonstrators tear-gassed in Kenya

NAIROBI: Kenya police used tear gas and water cannon Friday on a large crowd of supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga who gathered to welcome him from a trip overseas.
Odinga has called for a "National Resistance Movement" to protest the outcome of a repeat presidential election, which was ordered by the Supreme Court after it annulled the results of an August poll over procedural irregularities.
In what is seen as the last chance for legal scrutiny of the vote, the court will rule on Monday on cases that seek to nullify the rerun election. The political crisis has stirred fears for the stability of the east African nation, a regional hub for trade, diplomacy and security.
In Friday's violence, people threw stones at the police and threw up burning barricades on Mombasa Road, the highway that links Nairobi's downtown business district and the airport.
Despite a partial police ban on protests in the capital, demonstrators had gathered in the morning near the airport to wait for Odinga's return. Police checked vehicles headed from the city centre to the airport in another attempt to stop the demonstration from building.
Kenyan TV channels broadcast footage of what they said was Odinga's motorcade leaving the airport after he landed just before midday. Motorcycle taxi drivers and people on foot shouted their support as the motorcade moved toward downtown.
President Uhuru Kenyatta won a second, five-year term with 98 percent of the vote in the repeat election after Odinga boycotted the contest. Only 39 percent of registered voters took part.
In Monday's Supreme Court rulings, judges could order a fresh vote or clear the way for the incumbent to be sworn in for his second term. If the election is upheld, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.
Dozens of international flights depart and arrive daily at Nairobi's main airport. The national airport authority said on its official Twitter handle just before midday that operations were running normally.
Kenya's prolonged election season has disrupted its economy. Human rights groups say at least 66 people have died in bloodshed surrounding the two elections.
Ahead of Monday's Supreme Court ruling, Kenya Airways' chairman told an investor briefing on Friday morning: "Hopefully we don’t have another presidential election so we can get on with life."


US to withdraw from UN rights council: UN officials

Updated 27 min 44 sec ago
0

US to withdraw from UN rights council: UN officials

  • Washington accuses UN Human Rights Council of bias against Israel.
  • UN rights chief: "The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable".

UNITED NATIONS: The United States will announce on Tuesday that it is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, which it accuses of bias against Israel, UN officials said.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley will make the announcement at a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington at 5:00 p.m. (2100 GMT).
Haley has repeatedly threatened to quit the Geneva-based body, established in 2006 to promote and protect human rights worldwide.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to comment ahead of the announcement, saying: “We will wait to hear the details of that decision before commenting fully.”
“What is clear, is that the secretary-general is a strong believer in the human rights architecture of the UN and the active participation of all member states in that architecture.”
UN officials privately confirmed they were expecting the US decision to quit the rights body.
The withdrawal followed strong UN criticism of Trump’s policy to separate migrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border.
UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Monday “the thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.”
Human Rights Watch criticized the move, warning that Washington’s absence at the top UN body would put the onus on other governments to address the world’s most serious rights problems.
“The Trump administration’s withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” said HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth.
“The UN Human Rights Council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel.”
US criticism stems from the fact that Israel is the only country that has a dedicated agenda item, known as Item 7, at the rights council, meaning its treatment of the Palestinians comes under scrutiny at each of the body’s three annual sessions.
The United Stated refused to join the body when it was created in 2006, when George W. Bush was in the White House and his ambassador to the UN was John Bolton, Trump’s current hawkish and UN-skeptic national security adviser.
It was only after Barack Obama came to power that Washington joined the council in 2009.
Since Trump took office, the United States has quit the UN cultural agency UNESCO, cut UN funding and announced plans to quit the UN-backed Paris climate agreement.