Elections make a fundamental contribution to democratic governance by enabling the participation of voters to select leaders to represent them within the government and ensures the responsiveness of democratic governments to the will of the people. Elections also reinforce the stability and legitimacy of the political community thus facilitating social and political integration. Participation in an election serves to underpin the rights of citizens to have their voices heard. However, this is not always attained as restrictions may be initiated to limit fundamental rights that deny citizens a free, fair, credible and peaceful election.
Election monitors and observers play an important role in enhancing the transparency and credibility of elections and democratic governance. Human Rights Defenders (that include election monitors, observers, journalists and other civil society actors) continue to be at the forefront in advancing the civil and political rights of citizens by safeguarding the right of citizens to participate in the conduct of public affairs, to vote and to be elected and access public services.
Get more information in the booklet: NCHRD-K Elections Monitoring Interim Report
The Government has been told to secure the observers and journalists who will be will be monitoring the August 8 General Election. The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD-K) decried harassment of the civil society and the fourth estate during the party primaries and ongoing campaigns, despite the groups playing a critical role. According to a report released by the NCHRD-K yesterday, 13 cases of intimidation of human rights defenders, monitors and journalists have been reported since April.
The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya welcomes the judgment entered, on 4th may 2017, by the High Court in Nairobi granting Ms. Lucy Hannan a two year work permit as she finalizes her application for citizenship. Justice Isaac Lenaola ruled that the decision by the government not to renew Ms. Hannan’s work permit in 2013 was unprocedural and in violation of the Constitution.
This positive decision comes after a protracted four year court battle where Lucy Hannan, a British journalist and human rights defender who has been resident in Kenya since 1988, sued the State in December 2013 for refusing to renew her work permit on grounds that she was a “subversive”, a ‘threat to national security’and ordered she be removed from the country.
Download the full press release here: http://nchrdk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/PRESS-STATEMENT-LUCY-HANNAN.pdf
Inside Communications Surveillance and Counterterrorism in Kenya Executive Summary
This investigation focuses on the techniques, tools and culture of Kenyan police and intelligence agencies’ communications surveillance practices. It focuses primarily on the use of surveillance for counterterrorism operations. It contrasts the ction and reality of how communications content and data is intercepted and how communications data is fed into the cycle of arrests, torture and disappearances.
Communications surveillance is being carried out by Kenyan state actors, essentially without oversight, outside of the procedures required by Kenyan laws. Intercepted communications content and data are used to facilitate gross human rights abuses, to spy on, pro le, locate, track – and ultimately arrest, torture, kill or disappear suspects, as this report documents. The Kenyan constitution guarantees freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to a fair trial as fundamental rights.
These abuses have marred Kenya’s counterterrorism operations and further eroded Kenyans’ already weak trust in the agencies responsible for protecting them. This investigation also explores the potential impact of unaccountable communications surveillance on the upcoming 2017 election cycle.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) regularly shares information with police agencies, some of whom have been engaged in gross human rights abuses, according to multiple independent media, civil society and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) investigations. The NIS appears to have direct access to communication networks across Kenya. This direct access means that the network operator itself has little to no knowledge of the interception of communications occurring on its network, and therefore no real ability to check these powers or report potentially abusive use of communications surveillance powers. The role of the Communications Authority in facilitating direct access in Kenya requires more scrutiny. All responses to Privacy International’s requests for comment are included in the text.
Particularly in an election year, there is a pressing need to begin to reform the practice of communications surveillance, preventing a future threat of greater abuse.
Read the whole report here: http://nchrdk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Track-Capture-Kill-Kenya.pdf
On 16 th March 2017 the Black Law Student Association from Harvard University had their annual Africa Summit. The purpose of Africa Summit is to learn about the culture and government in various African countries. They attempt to meet with members of the non-profit sector in order to learn more about some of the challenges the country faces and see how civil society is responding to them. They met with the NCHRD-K to discuss issues related to shrinking space, HRD and CSO challenges in an election year.
See the Visit in pictures here: