In a joint statement by the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom to Kenya, Dr Christian Turner, along with his fellow Canadian High Commissioner and the Ambassadors of the USA, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany and Denmark have released a joint statement reiterating their ‘strong and ongoing support’ for a ‘vibrant, free and independent civil society in Kenya’.
Together, they have welcomed the decision by the Kenyan government to suspend the registration certificate cancellation of 959 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). They state that the Coordination Board’s October 29 notice “raised serious concerns and questions about regulation of the sector.”
The statement goes on to say:
As international partners, we are fully committed to supporting appropriate transparency and accountability with regard to NGOs. However, we also believe that regulation must be fair, reasonable, and justly administered. We urge the Board to ensure all NGOs have timely information and an adequate opportunity to answer any questions or address concerns. We, as donors, require detailed financial reports and regular audits from NGOs that we partner with, and insist on transparency and accountability in our ongoing oversight. We have no evidence that NGOs to which we provide donor funds are supporting or funding terrorism or are engaged in other illegal activity.
Our governments strongly support the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association for civil society as is guaranteed in the Constitution of Kenya. Furthermore, we firmly believe that a strong civil society is vital to protecting fundamental rights, strengthening democratic institutions, building prosperity, and ensuring security. NGOs provide a wide range of essential services to Kenyans including in healthcare and education. We again urge the Government of Kenya to implement as soon as possible the Public Benefit Organizations Act of 2013, which provides an excellent framework for the regulation of civil society organisations while at the same time ensuring transparency and accountability in the sector’s work.