INTERVIEW WITH NCHRD-K’S PROTECTION OFFICER
The working group on human rights defenders in Kenya is this afternoon scheduled to award the outstanding work of human rights activists for the year 2017. The working group comprises of community service organizations and development partners in Kenya, and focuses on the protection of human rights defenders. The award ceremony of this 2nd edition of the awards will take place on the 26th of January 2018. The ceremony is being hosted by the Netherlands ambassador to Kenya Frans Makken. The Netherlands is the current chair of the human rights defenders working group.
Realizing Freedom of Assembly and Association:lessons from 2017 elections
The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya (NCHRD-K) convened over 70 HRDs from various parts of Kenya for a
one and half days forum to discuss threats on Freedom of association through arbitrary directives by the government of Kenya. This has been observed to be a repeated trend anytime Kenyans go to the general elections. In view of this, NCHRD-K organised the forum that will work towards facilitating engagement with relevant stakeholders to who play a key role in securing the space for HRDs and CSOs. The forum will take place on 25 and 26 January 2018.
The objectives of the meeting were:
a) Providing a safe and open platform for experience sharing among HRDs and CSOs from
across Kenya, examining the vital role played by human rights defenders as agents of social
change and transformation
b) Highlighting the challenges faced by HRDs in Kenya and to make specific recommendations
to the Special Rapporteurs, the State and CSOs
c) Developing collective strategies of reclaiming the lost civic space so as to unify the
voices of CSOs and HRDs across Kenya.
d) To come up with a communiqué highlighting the specific challenges the participants want
addressed and recommendations to identified relevant government institutions and other
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.
Download the 2017 awards booklet:http://nchrdk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Human-Rights-Awards-booklet-2017.pdf
2017 ANNUAL JURISTS CONFERENCE COMMUNIQUE
A. To African Heads of States
The Jurists note with great concern the rampant and systemic non-compliance with state reporting obligations and compliance with recommendations and decisions of the African Commission and the African Court. The jurists are also concerned that few African States have deposited Article 34(6) declarations allowing NGOs and individuals to present communications before the African Court and acknowledging the need to strengthen the follow up mechanisms of these bodies and the pivotal complementary role that the regional mechanism plays in securing human rights in Africa. It was further noted that the culture of non-conformity is a practice also reflected in the decisions of the sub-regional and national judicial and non-judicial mechanisms. In this regard:
B. To the African Union/African Commission
i. We call upon the African Union/African Commission to streamline state reporting procedures given the heavy burden on States to write reports on compliance with African Charter, Maputo Protocol and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child every two/three years.
ii. We call on the African Union to explore avenues for collaboration with different institutions to facilitate complimentary enforcement of human rights and promote institutional synergy among various bodies within the continent. This can be achieved by upholding court orders, respecting judicial independence, developing guidelines to make State reporting effective and according political support to the national and regional courts
C. Regional and National Courts
We recognize the fundamental importance of judicial independence in safeguarding rights and sustaining democracy and rule of law in the continent. As such we are alarmed at the persistent executive interference/or attempted undermining of such independence in some judiciaries.
We therefore call on the regional and national courts to:
enhance the promotion of human rights;
enforcement of human rights.
D. As Jurists and Civil Society
As jurists and Civil Society Organisations, we are deeply concerned about the growing trends of police brutality, torture and extrajudicial killing and regime policing. State machinery (police) has increasingly been used to intimidate and harass citizens and to silencing dissident voices, resulting into grave human rights violations. We also note the centrality of free and fair elections in securing good governance of the African people, we are concerned about the electoral violence and malpractices across the region. In this regard:
E. To Africa’s Citizens
As jurists, we recognize the centrality of a vibrant citizenry and public participation in ensuring accountability and bolstering good governance across nations; we implore on the citizenry to:
Developed at the Serena Beach Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya on November 24, 2017