Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Human Rights Citation


Citation for 2006 Milele (Lifetime Achievement) Award to Fr. John Anthony Kaiser

The Awards Committee for the Third Annual Human Rights and Democracy Awards confers the Milele (Lifetime Achievement) Award posthumously on Father John Anthony Kaiser for dedicating his life to the pursuit of human rights and justice for the Kenyan people.

During his thirty-six years in Kenya, Father Kaiser challenged the Government on corruption and advocated against land grabbing and excess by local politicians. An outspoken critic of the Moi regime, he worked tirelessly for the rights of the poor and marginalized in society. Father Kaiser devoted himself to working with the internally displaced following ethnic clashes in the Rift Valley in 1992. In 1998 he told a judicial inquiry that two cabinet ministers had trained people to rid the area of opposition supporters. Following these accusations, he was told to leave the country and went into hiding, but due to protests from the Kenyan people and successful lobbying from the U.S Government, the decision to deport him was revoked.

Father Kaiser was a firm supporter of women’s rights in every aspest of his work; he courageously protected and supported two girls who were alleged to have been raped by a cabinet minister. He helped furnish the evidence that the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA- Kenya) relied on to institute a private prosecution against Julius Sunkuli, previously a minister of State in the Office of the president.

Father Kaiser stood firm in the face of intimidation and death threats. He never compromised or changed his position in the face of external pressure, but continued his struggle to protect and promote human rights in Kenya till the end of his days. We honour his lifetime achievement and hope that the mystery surrounding the death of this committed individual will one day be unraveled.

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