The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) offers our condolences to all those affected by last week’s violence at Garissa University College, a constituent college of Moi University in northeastern Kenya. We mourn the horrific, tragic loss of life from a generation of young Kenyans who are leading their communities and country to a more democratic and peaceful future.
As security throughout Kenya tightens, AFSC urges all groups and officials to act with restraint and respect for the rule of law, resist any calls for retaliation, and fully investigate this heinous crime. We know that peace in the face of provocation is not only possible, but practical. Responses to extremist violence should not be used to erode the rights of others, and any actions should be taken within Kenya’s Constitution, with respect for the rule of law and to ensure the protection of all Kenyans.
As a faith based organization, AFSC rejects violence in any form and against all people. We must all work toward global shared security that addresses the root causes of violence; tackles corruption and poverty, and the inequitable distribution of resources and services. Temporary measures to display a sense of control, or short-sighted tactics restricting rights, are counterproductive and sow the seeds of further conflict. We must instead continue to reweave the fabric of Kenyan society through healing, protection of people’s rights and a focus on global shared security.
Working with young people in Somalia and Kenya for years, we have witnessed how youth can harness their creativity and energy to nurture themselves and their communities into a peaceful society. With local partners and using simple local initiatives, we help these youth acquire life and technical skills that they use to generate income, building futures for themselves, their families, and their communities. Their successes, despite many challenges and complexities, are proof of the power of nonviolence.
In our work around the world, we have seen how communities can heal and recover after tragedy when they commit to talking, listening, and working together for lasting peace and social justice. We urge the government of Kenya to commit to that approach in the wake of this tragedy.