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Election Monitoring Report (3)






Civic space in Kenya continues to be under pressure with a range of actions employed against the work of Human Rights Defenders and Civil Society organizations in Kenya. Administrative action, legislative restrictions, negative rhetoric and limitation of human rights have undermined the Constitutional and international protections available to them hindering the realization of human rights and especially in the setting of an electoral period during the 2017 elections

It is against this backdrop that the Working Group on Human Rights Defenders in Kenya, that comprise of CSOs and development partners in Kenya, concerned with the protection of human rights defenders hold the 2017 Human Rights Defenders Awards. The HRD awards endeavour to publicly recognise the work of HRDs in Kenya through a HRD award ceremony. This will take place on 29th November 2017 – International Women Human Rights Defenders Day. There will be awards in three categories: The Munir Mazrui Lifetime Achievement Award, the HRD of the year award and the award for young and upcoming HRDs.


The objectives of this award is to:

  1. Honour the extra ordinary work of HRDs in the promotion and protection of human rights, profiling the work of HRDs and challenges they face as agents of social change and transformation.
  2. Enhance the safety and protection of all HRDs in Kenya
  3. Recognise and appreciate the human rights work of young and upcoming HRDs in Kenya and support talent.


  • Nomination: The Working Group on Human Rights Defenders in Kenya will develop a call for nominations which will be widely circulated by NCHRD-K and other partners. This call will outline the criteria for eligibility for nomination.
  • Shortlisting: A panel will shortlist ten individuals within the set out guidelines for shortlisting candidates.
  • Verification: The panel will then verify the HRDs human rights work through a field visits and interviews with those who work with the HRDs.
  • Judging: The judging panel, which will comprise eminent individuals in the human rights sector, will make a final decision, from the names submitted, who the recipient of the awards will be.
  • Award ceremony: will be held on the 29th November 2017 (International Women HRD Day) and will see the presence of representatives from the missions, CSOs, government, select HRDs and the media who will cover the event.


The following will be taken into consideration:

  • Grassroots based HRD
  • Demonstrable impact of the HRDs human rights work to the community
  • The role of the HRD in promoting human rights
  • ‘Civil courage’ of the HRD in his/her human rights work
  • Demonstrated leadership, innovation and creativity in his/her human rights work
  • Contribution to development of a human rights based approach within his/her county in regards to the thematic area of focus
  • Future goals and likely impact
  • Degree of difficulty of the achievement and sacrifices made
  • Visibility derived from award to enhance work of HRD to promote human rights and active citizenship
  • The HRD should have a link to the community and his/her work should have built or working towards building a movement.
  • The HRD should be a seasoned or upcoming in the human rights field.


Three awards will be presented to the overall winners, Munir Mazrui lifetime achievement award, HRD of the year and an upcoming HRD.

Munir Mazrui lifetime achievement award winner will receive:

  • Cash award of $ 1,000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • Will be the guest at the HRD award ceremony 2018

HRD award of the year winner will receive:

  • Cash reward of $1,000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • Will be the guest at the HRD award ceremony 2018

The Upcoming HRD will receive:

  • Cash reward of $1,000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • Will be the guest at the HRD award ceremony 2018

The NCHRD-K therefore calls for nominations for Human Rights Defenders Award 2017.

All nomination forms should be sent back to the NCHRD-K via with a clear subject line “HRD AWARD NOMINATION” by 27 October 2017 at 12.00 pm

Download the nomination Form here: HRD AWARDS 2017 NOMINATION FORM









Safe Hubs for Human Rights Defenders at Risk in Africa launched

Members of the Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network (PAHRDN) from across East, Central, West, North and Southern regions of Africa

Kampala, Uganda — Members of the Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network (PAHRDN) from across East, Central, West, North and Southern regions of Africa gathered in Kampala, Uganda from 3 to 5 October 2017 to coordinate efforts to design and implement a functional and effective sub-regional support programme for human rights defenders (HRDs) facing imminent risk because of their work.

Members agreed on a unique and flexible model of safety hub programmes rooted in a collective commitment to protect the physical security, life, and liberty of HRDs on the continent.

The PAHDRN initiative is an effort driven by African civil society inspired by the Ubuntu spirit to effectively tackle threats to HRDs within the continent through creating safe (Ubuntu) spaces in Africa for HRDs. The Ubuntu spirit which inspires this project is part of the African philosophy of building communities to care about the humanity and dignity of others, in particular HRDs under distress.

Hassan Shire, Chairperson of PAHRDN and Executive Director of DefendDefenders, noted that the hub city programme would “dispel the notion that African HRDs can only get protection in Europe or North America. HRDs can find support here within the African continent and continue their human rights work closer to home.”

During the three-day meeting, network members engaged in lively and thoughtful discussions on particular aspects of the hub city programme, such as the various risks that proponents of human rights and good governance face, relocation as a safety measure, and the range of circumstances that can prompt internal or external relocation. Members further mapped out support structures and services needed to address the challenges HRDs may face during the relocation process.

Members concluded that building hub cities in the region based on geographical location, culture, and language was a viable initiative, and agreed on operationalisation framework, including collaboration with governments, local governments (municipalities), universities, national human rights institutions, as well as national and regional HRD networks.

The workshop discussions were synthesized into an agreement on a model for the safety hub city programme which was adopted by all members in attendance on behalf of their networks. Network members will continue to collaborate in the coming weeks to refine the agreement and develop accompanying guidelines to support its operationalisation in a way sensitive to local contexts.

“Participants are enthusiastic at the prospects of the hub city programme being operational. The operational parameters agreed at this meeting is really a huge first step towards realizing the hub city vision. It is a concept that has the potential to influence how other actors on the continent collaborate with one another”, said Arnold Tsunga, Chair of the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN) and Africa Director of the International Commission of Jurists.

The Executive Director of National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya, Mr Kamau Ngugi stated that “the hub city initiative compliments the work of national coalitions by offering longer term intervention when risks for HRDs are prolonged.”

The HRDs thought leaders extended special thanks to the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), which sent a representative to share some lessons learnt as part of building cooperation with the PAHRDN.

The PAHRDN extends its appreciation to the sub-regional networks, national coalitions, human rights defenders and partner organisations that attended the workshop including: Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (REDHAC), Southern Africa HRDs Network (SAHRDN), International Commission of Jurists-Africa, the Human Rights Lawyers- (LHR) South Africa, Tunisian League for Human Rights, National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya, Human Rights Defenders Network-Sierra Leone, Coalition Ivoirienne des Defenseurs des Droits de l’Homme, Burundian Coalition of HRDs, African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, Sexual Minority Uganda, Reporters without Borders-Sweden, as well as exiled Human Rights Defenders from Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda based in Uganda; and Human Rights Defenders from Egypt and Lesotho.


The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K), DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Civil Rights Defenders strongly condemn the targeting of two national human rights organisations in Kenya – the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) – by the NGO Coordination Board.

On 16 August 2017 at about 10:30am the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) together with Kenya police officers attempted to gain entry into the AfriCOG offices without notice and with a defective search warrant. The raid came immediately after AfriCOG was allegedly served with a notice of deregistration on 14 August 2017 by the NGO Coordination Board, accusing the organisation of operating “illegal bank accounts”, employing expatriates without the necessary permits and tax evasion, among others. KHRC has since denied the allegations.

The attempted raid was eventually prevented by instructions from Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiangi, who called for the formulation of an inclusive and representative committee to work with the NGO Coordination Board to ascertain the compliance of the two organisations with NGO regulations, and proceeded to suspend any actions against these organisations for a period of 90 days to enable the committee carry out its functions.

The accusations in question had already been adjudicated before the high Court of Kenya in 2015 (KHRC vs. NGO Coordination Board 495 of 2015) when KHRC was first deregistered by the NGO Coordination Board. Justice Louise Onguto, on 29 April 2016, entered that the adverse actions taken to deregister KHRC and freeze its bank accounts is unconstitutional, null, and void.

“The persistent harassment of civil society organisations at the hands of Fazul Mahamed, the Executive Director of the NGO Coordination Board, is unacceptable. CSOs should be able to take part in public affairs and hold government to account without fear of reprisal,” said Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya.

Further, in a letter dated 15 August 2017, the NGO Coordination Board wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to order it to close down the operations of AfriCOG and arrest its members and directors for contravening section 22 (1) of the NGO Coordination Act, which requires any person operating an NGO to be registered under the same Act. It further called on the Central Bank to freeze the accounts of the organisation.

Civil society is free to select under which regime to register their association, and AfriCOG is registered under the Companies Act as a company limited by guarantee. Therefore, the NGO

Coordination Board has no mandate over the operations of the institution. Furthermore, such direction is in contravention of Article 47 of the Constitution of Kenya that provides for fair administrative action and contravene the fundamental right to freedom of association protected by Article 36 of the Constitution of Kenya and under international treaties to which Kenya is a State Party.

The move against the two organisations comes a week after 8 August national electionswhich were contested by the opposition. Throughout the electoral process, KHRC and AfriCOG have been vocal in their demand for transparency and have acted as monitors of the elections. KHRC Executive Director George Kegoro told Capital FM news in an interview that move to deregister his organisation aimed to prevent it from issuing a legal petition challenging the recent election results in the Supreme Court.

The undersigned organisations call on on the NGO Coordination Board to:

Desist from harassing civil society organisations and immediately lift any restrictions on the activities of KHRC and AfriCOG until they are given the right to due process;

Respect Article 47 of the Constitution of Kenya, which provides for the right to “administrative action that is expeditious, efficient, lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.”

Publicly acknowledge the important role played by civil society in promoting rule of law and accountability; and ensure an enabling environment in which human rights defenders and civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity.

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Civil Rights Defenders
DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya

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NCHRD-K Final Report


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