Letter: Abuses of human rights that should concern the world community in Vienna

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Sir: You have drawn attention to the Chinese veto on the Dali Lama's participation in the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna (report, 12 June). Another participant has been arrested in order to stop him attending.

The Kenyan publisher Njehu Gatabaki was to have been in Vienna as representative of the Association of Free and Independent Press, but on Sunday he was arrested as he was about to leave Nairobi and is still in police custody. He was to have left earlier, but the authorities had confiscated his passport.

Mr Gatabaki, who publishes Finance magazine, is one of a number of Kenyan journalists facing sedition charges. In April armed police raided his offices, smashing up computers and putting a staff member in hospital. Later, they seized essential components from the press that prints Finance, Society and other independent magazines. They have not been able to print for more than six weeks.

The international community has already suspended some aid to Kenya because of human rights abuses. President Daniel arap Moi's government is clearly afraid of the repercussions if it bans these magazines. Instead, it is trying to drive them out of business.

Governments gathered in Vienna, including that of Britain, must insist that Mr Gatabaki is allowed to attend and make it clear to President Moi that aid will not be restored until he respects press freedom.

Yours sincerely,


Africa Co-ordinator

Article 19

International Centre

Against Censorship

London, SE1

16 June