ALA Council passed a resolution on the crisis in Kenya, focusing on the issue of press freedoms. The resolution is below. One thing that helped sway Council to pass the resolution was news of a request for international support from the Kenyan library community. It is worth reading the views of Esther Obachi, National Secretary of the Kenya Association of Library and Information Professionals (KLA), on the crisis.
Resolution on the Crisis in Kenya
WHEREAS, hundreds of people have been killed and injured, and thousands have been displaced by the current violence in Kenya generated by the controversy surrounding the December lection results;
WHEREAS, the Kenyan government has recently curtailed freedom of the press and broadcasting and the right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully and non-violently;
WHEREAS, the American Library Association has endorsed Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (policy 58.4) which covers freedom of the press and freedom of expression – rights which the Kenyan government is now denying its citizens;
WHEREAS, the American Library Association opposes any governmental prerogatives that lead to the intimidation of individuals or groups and encourages resistance to such abuse of overnmental power (Policy 53.4);
WHEREAS, the American Library Association recognizes the vital importance of free and open elections;
WHEREAS, the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars has issued a call for an end to (1) the widespread violence by the principal Kenyan political actors, (2) restrictions of the right to assemble and demonstrate peacefully and non-violently, and (3) recently declared restrictions on press freedoms;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Library Association calls for an end to the violence in Kenya, a return to press and broadcasting freedom, and the right to peacefully assemble for the people of Kenya.