2 January 2008

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General is increasingly troubled by the escalating tensions and violence in Kenya in the aftermath of last week’s elections.  He is shocked by reports that dozens of civilians were burned to death in a church in Eldoret, and that 300 people have now been reported killed in this deplorable outburst of violence.  The Secretary-General reminds the Government, as well as the political and religious leaders of Kenya, of their legal and moral responsibility to protect the lives of innocent people, regardless of their racial, religious or ethnic origin, and he strongly urges them to do everything within their capacity to prevent any further violence.  He urges all efforts be made to avoid provocations and violence during planned demonstrations on Thursday.

The Secretary-General is also concerned with the deteriorating humanitarian situation, as large numbers of people have been displaced by the violence.  He calls on all concerned to allow safe access for relief workers helping those affected by recent events.  The United Nations will continue to work closely with the Kenyan Red Cross and other partners to help get assistance to those in need.

The Secretary-General is in the process of contacting the leadership in Kenya, the African Union and other concerned parties on how to address the crisis.  A solution is urgently needed, through a spirit of dialogue and by making full use of constitutional and legal rules and mechanisms.

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For information media • not an official record