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Human rights in Kenya are far better than in most of Africa though political freedom is still curtailed.

The Mwai Kibaki government has worked to improve the human rights environment in Kenya and has significantly reduced the use of the legal system to harass government critics. The Daniel arap Moi administration consistently received international criticism of its record on human rights. Under Moi, security forces regularly subjected opposition leaders and pro-democracy activists to arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, abuse in custody, and deadly forces. International donors and governments such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Norway periodically broke off diplomatic relations and suspended aid allocations, pending human rights improvement. Under the new government, politically motivated human rights violations have diminished, but other serious human rights abuses persist, a great many at the hands of security forces, particularly the police. The police force is widely viewed as the most corrupt entity in the country, given to extorting bribes, complicity in criminal activity, and using excessive force against both criminal suspects and crowds. Most police who commit abuses still do so with impunity. Prison conditions remain life threatening. Apart from police and penal system abuses, infringements of rights in the course of legal proceedings are widespread, despite recent pressure on judicial personnel. Freedom of speech and of the press continue to be compromised through various forms of harassment of journalists and activists. Violence and discrimination against women are rife. The abuse of children, including in forced labor and prostitution, is a serious problem. Female genital mutilation (FGM) remains widespread, despite 2001 legislation against it for girls under 16. The abuse of women and girls, including early marriage and wife inheritance, is a factor in the spread of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). Kenya made some progress in 2003, when it set up the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, with a mandate to ensure Kenya’s compliance with international human rights standards. Also, parliament passed the Children’s Act to ensure the protection of minors, as well as the Disability Act, outlawing discrimination against the disabled.

In November 2005 the Kenyan government banned rallies of opposition parties, rejecting calls for new elections. Vice President Moody Awori stated:

The government considers these calls for nationwide rallies inappropriate and a threat to national security [...]
Accordingly, the government will not allow the planned rallies and wananchi (citizens) are cautioned not to attend the meetings.

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