Lord Sheikh attended and spoke at an event organised by Pritam Chaggar of the Voices of Kenya Union to celebrate 70 years of Asian broadcasting of the Hindustani Service of Kenya. Deedar Singh Pardesi who used to sing on the shows and Pritam Chaggar and Chaman Lal Chaman who were presenters were also in attendance.
Lord Sheikh spoke about his and Lady Sheikh’s connections with Kenya and the fact that he used to listen to programmes broadcasted by Voice of Kenya. He also paid tribute to the various presenters and entertainers who have contributed to the show. He made his speech in English, Urdu, Swahili and Punjabi.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent reports they have received concerning the human rights situation in Kenya.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have noted the recent report by Human Rights Watch on the October 2008 disarmament operation by the Kenyan military in north-eastern Kenya and the report to the Human Rights Council in June 2009 by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston on extrajudicial killings. As with previous reports alleging human rights violations, we have urged the Kenyan Government to instigate independent investigations into the allegations raised.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to promote political stability in Kenya.
Lord Malloch-Brown: The UK has provided support to civil society organisations to assist communities to reconcile and engage in the peace process following the disputed 2007 elections. In the past two financial years, civil society support amounted to £1.2 million.
We have provided a further £1.4 million over the past two years to support the Annan process and the National Accord. We will continue to offer our full support to Kofi Annan and his leadership role in the reform process.
All support has been jointly managed by the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, through the Africa Conflict Prevention Programme.
We continue to urge Kenya’s leaders to work together to ensure that the key reforms needed in Kenya are made in order to prevent a return to the violence and instability seen at the start of 2008.