The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today responded to the violence arising from the disputed presidential elections in Kenya held on December 27, 2007, and announced that the Government of Canada is providing up to $1 million to help those in need.
"Canadians are shocked at the horrific deaths of people taking refuge in an Eldoret church, as well as at the loss of life elsewhere in Kenya," said Minister Bernier. "Reports that violence is ethnically driven, and in some cases targets women and children, are alarming."
"Canada is very concerned about the number of Kenyans displaced in their own country because of this violence and lawlessness," said Minister Oda. "We are providing up to $1 million to the Kenya Red Cross to address the immediate humanitarian needs of Kenyans."
Canada's contribution will support the Kenya Red Cross's ongoing efforts to respond to the situation by distributing medical supplies, food, water and other crucial aid items, while providing shelter.
Canada continues to be very concerned about incidents of violence triggered by irregularities in the post-election process and by the Kenyan authorities' response. Canada reiterates its call to all Kenyans to exercise calm and restraint, and calls on all concerned, in particular the Kenyan government, to respect human rights, provide safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need, and restore confidence in the integrity of the democratic process.
"We welcome the mediation efforts of the Chairman of the African Union, Ghanaian President John Kufuor, and the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) for Kenya elections, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, former president of Sierra Leone. We call upon the Kenyan authorities to urgently facilitate their important work," added Minister Bernier.
Please note that Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to Kenya as a result of the current level of violence and instability following the presidential and parliamentary elections. For more information, please consult: www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/report-en.asp?country=149000
Minister Bernier made a statement on the Kenyan elections on December 30, 2007. For more details, please consult: w01.international.gc.ca/MinPub/Publication.aspx?isRedirect=True&Language=E&publication_id=385722&docnumber=187
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada