UN human rights chief urges Kenyan leaders to act to avoid further violence

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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaking during a panel discussion in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Kenya's political leaders are being urged to ensure calm at this "critical juncture" in the wake of the country's recent presidential election.

The appeal was made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Kenyans took to the polls a week ago, with incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta emerging as the victor.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN human rights chief commended Kenya's peaceful voting process but called on leaders there "to take the responsible path and exercise their leadership to avoid violence."

He recalled that protests had erupted following the announcement of the results, with some demonstrators resorting to violence, including stone-throwing and looting.

Zeid expressed concern over reports that the security forces had used live ammunition against the protestors, as well as reports of police brutality which led to several deaths and injuries, including children.

He called for all acts of violence to be promptly and independently investigated.

Describing Kenya as being at "a critical juncture," the rights chief called on leaders to "do their utmost" to calm the volatile political climate.

"If there are claims to make about the conduct of the elections, they should be made through constitutional and legal means," he stated.

The High Commissioner also called on the Government to announce that it will cooperate with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and with subsequent efforts to ensure accountability.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06″

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