Disappointment hung in the air yesterday outside the Kenyan embassy in Washington D.C., where members of the Sudanese diaspora and human rights activists gathered to protest the Kenyan government’s recent reception of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. “We’re here to protest the Kenyan government allowing the dictator Bashir to go safely into Kenya and return back home,” said Khalid Gerais, a member of the Nubia Project. “We are here with our friends, the Americans, to protest this action for all Sudan, from north to south, east to west, for the whole country.”
Despite being a signatory to the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court, Kenyan officials did not arrest Bashir when he arrived on Friday to participate in a ceremony for Kenya’s new constitution. In response, Darfur activists arranged protests, in both Los Angeles and Washington D.C., to convey their disbelief.
In Washington, Jimmy Mulla, from Voices of Sudan, presented a letter on behalf of the Sudanese diaspora to a Kenyan embassy official. “We are here to express our outrage that Bashir an indicted war criminal be allowed in Kenya—a country that has signed on to the ICC statute,” Mulla said in an email. Mulla believes that peace and security in the region will ultimately benefit Kenya—which borders South Sudan—economically. “If we have peace in all of Sudan, it is good for Kenya as well,” he said.
Melissa Delbon contributed to this post.