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Category Page: NCHRD News

Celebrating Mama Rahma, women rights defender in Kiamaiko

Rahma Wako, HRD of the Year Award 2016 winner

Mama Rahma has been a gallant Woman Human Rights Defender since 1984. In celebrating the International Women’s Day, she is one of the few women celebrated by the Standard Newspaper. Her journey has ben a successful one in overcoming all the odds especially in her Borana Culture to emerge as the only woman elder in the community. Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001272491/married-off-at-12-mother-now-saves-abused-girls

PRESS STATEMENT CONDEMNING THE KILLING OF EVANS NJOROGE

Presser-Evans

Abandoned 2-year-old boy suffers burns at hands of native healers

Rahma Wako, HRD of the Year Award 2016 winner

See intervention by Rahma Wako. A HRD from Kiamaiko.

Abandoned 2-year-old boy suffers burns at hands of native healers Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/health/article/2001272142/sick-boy-suffers-burns-at-hands-of-native-healers

SOLIDARITY STATEMENT

“Closing Space for Civil Society and Media in East Africa: Forging a Collaborative Response”

23 February 2018 (Nairobi, Kenya)

We, more than 60 civil society organisation and media representatives from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda working on human rights, democratic development, transparency, digital media, women and youth empowerment, legal aid, litigation and other issues of public interest are gathered in Nairobi to express our firm resolve to stand together in solidarity as civil society and media.

We will remain vigilant against threats to civic space. We commit to collaborate and provide support to each other through individual and joint efforts at the national and regional levels to combat shrinking space.

We note with concern a trend of closing civic space in the three East African countries characterized by increasing impunity. This has been evidenced by repressive tactics perpetrated by state and non-state actors, including among others:

  • Intimidation of and reprisals against journalists and activists through smear campaigns, arrests, detention and disappearances;
  • Enactment of restrictive laws and policies;
  • Disregard for the rule of law such as the continued failure in Kenya to operationalize the PBO Act despite several court orders;
  • Constraining financing of civil society organisations and media;
  • Curtailment of civil society’s and media’s freedom of movement and ability to freely operate especially in electoral contexts;
  • Restrictions on access to information through banning of newspapers and shutting down of media outlets and civil society organisations as has happened in Tanzania;
  • Surveillance of activists and journalists in physical and digital spaces;
  • Criminalization of dissent;
  • Use of excessive force to disperse peaceful protests and demonstrations;
  • intimidation of the judiciary and other governance and oversight institutions that should be independent; and
  • Harassment of civil society organisations by raids, break-ins, confiscation of documents and equipment as has been experienced in Uganda.

We are cognizant that shrinking civic space is not unique to the region but is contextualised by the decline in democratic ideals globally. Governments seem to adopt repressive tactics from each other and use similar justifications to shrink civic space including national security prerogatives and promotion of accountability within the media and civil society sectors.

Further, as civic space advocates, we note that a repressed civic environment adversely affects not only civil society organisations, the media and ultimately other sectors, but also the ordinary citizen, and leads to cultural, economic, political and social decline of a society.

As a coalition, we have identified areas in which joint interventions are necessary and have developed regional strategies and interventions to maintain and claim civic space. We resolve:

  • To take joint actions to build mutual understanding and ongoing dialogue between media and civil society;
  • To engage in regional advocacy;
  • To strengthen protective mechanisms, including litigation and legal aid;
  • To develop innovative funding and revenue streams;
  • To increase the use and protection of digital space;
  • To enhance civil society and media accountability internally and within the political context;
  • To work towards redefining narratives and public perceptions of the sector; and
  • To mobilize academia in order to leverage knowledge and research outputs.

At the national level, we identified several initiatives to enhance civil society organisations and media cooperation including establishing ongoing dialogue platforms, developing joint capacity building initiatives, building trust, addressing mutual security concerns online and offline, and mitigating risks.

We will engage with other actors including academia, professional associations, young people, and state institutions, to cultivate a broader understanding and appreciation of the role of civil society and media in a democratic society.

We pledge to continue collaborating towards ensuring a safe and enabling space for civil society and media in East Africa.

#CivicSpaceEastAfrica

Download the statement here: http://nchrdk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/SOLIDARITY-STATEMENT-East-Africa-Regional-CSO-Media-Workshop-23-Feb-2018.pdf

[The civil society and media leaders were convened for a two- day strategic workshop hosted by the Civil Society Reference Group, a Kenyan coalition whose role is to protect and enhance an independent and effective civil society voice and agency for public benefit, and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), a US-based organisation that has provided technical expertise on laws that govern civil society in over 100 countries worldwide and more than 20 in Africa.]

NCHRD-K WELCOMES THE RELEASE OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER ALOYS HABIMANA FROM CUSTODY

Aloys Habimana

20 Feb. 18 Nairobi, Kenya:

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya welcomes the news that human rights defender Aloys Habimana was released from the custody of the Service National de Renseignements (SNR – National Intelligence Services) in Burundi on Monday 19 February 2018.

Aloys was arrested on Saturday,17th February 2018 near the border of Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to Front Line Defenders, he was detained by the Service National de Renseignements (SNR – National Intelligence Services) in Bujumbura for two days without access to counsel. This is contrary to regional and international human rights mechanisms that prohibit arbitrary arrest, right to freedom of movement, the right to liberty and security of person.

“Human rights defenders’ fraternity in the region was deeply concerned with the safety and wellbeing of Aloys while in custody considering that SNR has been responsible for numerous arrests, torture and ill-treatment of human rights defenders and political opponents in Burundi,’ said Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director of National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders-Kenya while welcoming the news of Aloys’ release from custody.

Aloys Habimana is a well known among human rights defenders in the Africa region because of his timely response to those at risk. Aloys is Front Line Defenders’ Protection Coordinator for East and Southern Africa, an Irish based human rights organization that supports and protects human rights defenders at risk around the world. Aloys has worked with Front Line Defenders since 2012

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders reminds East Africa states of their commitment to free movement of people across the region and call on authorities in Burundi to cease targeting of human rights defenders.  Human Rights Defenders should be able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and restrictions as decreed by the ‘UN Declaration on Human rights Defenders’, adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/53/144 of 8 March 1998.

For further information contact:

Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director, National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya (NCHRD-K); info@hrdcoalition.org; Tel; +254712632390

_______________________________

National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya (NCHRD-K) is a national organization established in 2007 and incorporated in the Republic of Kenya as a Trust. NCHRD-K mission is to strengthen the capacity of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) to work effectively in the country and to reduce their vulnerability to the risk of persecution.

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: Protective Fellowship Scheme for HRDs at Risk

The Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York is opening a new Call for Nominations for the Protective Fellowship Scheme for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. The Centre is planning to host up to eight defenders who are expected to stay in York for 3-6 months. New Fellows are expected to start in York in mid-September 2018 or in special circumstances in early January 2019.

Nominations for female human rights defenders are particularly welcome. For specific information on eligibility criteria and an overview of the Scheme, please see attached documentation.

Nominations are accepted from recognised civil society organisations and/or organisations working specifically with human rights defenders.

All the documentation should be sent together in one email from the nominating organisation’s email account. Deadline for nominations is 23:59 GMT Sunday 15 April 2018.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact  patricia.bartley@york.ac.uk. Visit University of York’s website for more details here: https://securityofdefendersproject.org/artisticwork-en/

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