Here at the University of Regina we view the existence and the activities of our Students' Union, regardless of our feelings toward them, as a given. This and other organizations of students are free to work on improving the situation of students, even through actions critical of the government and the community (e.g. the CFS Day of Action on January 28th).|
In Kenya, however, organized groups of university students are not granted this safe environment. Student participation in protest against authorities has resulted in Kenya's public universities being closed many times. Peaceful student demonstrations and protest have been broken up violently. In December, 1996, police officers opened fire on peaceful student protesters at Egerton University and Kenyatta University, killing three students. Female students also reported being raped by security officers.
What follows is a letter outlining the situation in Kenya. You can copy it word for word or compose you own version
| using the facts stated in this article. However, keep in mind that it is very important to remain polite and respectful in your letter, regardless of the anger you may feel towards the Kenyan government. Address your letter to: President Daniel arap Moi, President of the Republic of Kenya, Office of the President, PO Box 30510, Nairobi, Kenya.|
I am writing to you as I am very concerned about the human rights situation in Kenya. In particular, I am very worried about the university students. Student leaders issued a statement in April 1997 complaining that they were under surveillance and some had received threatening phone calls. The harassment of university students has often escalated into torture and jailing, and even death, as in the case of Solomon Muruli who died in a suspicious fire on February 20, 1997, after receiving death threats. Student leaders have been denied student loans,
| required to live off-campus, and expelled as punishment for their involvement in protests.|
Please ensure the safety of one such student, Janai Robert Orina, who attended Moi University and was a member of the Kenya University Students' Union. In retaliation for his support of a nation-wide university lecturers strike in 1994, he has been expelled from university and denied the opportunity to write his exams, despite orders from the Eldoret High Court ordering authorities to let him sit his exams. As well, like many other university students, Janai has been subjected to harassment and surveillance. He fears his life is in danger.
Please investigate the death threats against student leaders and the allegations of harassment and surveillance, and ensure that those who are found responsible are brought to justice. Please work to improve respect for human rights in Kenya by repealing repressive laws.
Yours sincerely, (your name)