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Kenya’s Democracy at a Crossroads: Daily Brief

Plus: One year of Sessions-style justice in US; Human rights defenders at risk in Mauritania; ISIS landmines kill & injure people in Raqqa, Syria; White House #MeToo scandal; Remembering Pakistan's Asma Jahangir; Liberia should make justice a priority; and the rise of anti-Semitic crimes in Germany


  1. Alarm bells are ringing for Kenya, according to eleven ambassadors to the country who published an op-ed on Sunday. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch have been concerned about the authoritarian direction of Kenya’s government since President Uhuru Kenyatta took power in 2013. But the situation has taken an alarming turn in the past weeks.
  2. "The day then-President-elect Trump announced that he would nominate Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, I cried." Read this comment by Jasmine Tyler, HRW's United States program advocacy director, on one year of Sessions-style justice.
  3. Human rights defenders in Mauritania face repression when they raise the country’s most sensitive social issues, according to a report that HRW released today. The issues include ethnic and caste discrimination, slavery, and the need for accountability for a campaign of atrocities against certain groups three decades ago.
  4. Homemade landmines have killed and injured hundreds of Syrian civilians, including more than 150 children, in Raqqa since the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) lost control of the city last year.
  5. The latest White House scandal – revolving around the administration’s decision to hire a top aide credibly accused of domestic violence – seems especially worrying in light of the administration’s larger record on women’s rights issues.
  6. Asma Jahangir, a leading human rights lawyer in Pakistan, passed away on Sunday in her birthplace Lahore. Jahangir dedicated her life to the human rights work and the development of a democratic country. She co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
  7. Liberia’s new government should take prompt steps to pave the way for fair investigation and prosecution of crimes committed during its brutal civil wars, HRW says in a letter to Liberia's new President George Weah.
  8. Germany averaged four anti-Semitic crimes per day in 2017. A report by German newspaper Tagesspiegel states that most of the crimes were carried out by right-wing extremists.