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Human Rights Defenders Awards 2016

HRDs Awards

HRDs Awards

INTRODUCTION

An independent and vibrant civil society is beneficial to the development of a society that would thrive on the values and principles as intended within the Constitution of Kenya 2010 (Article 10); accountability, transparency, good governance and public participation. Human rights defenders play a critical role in complementing the government in promoting and protecting these values along with respect for human rights. However, in the course of their work, HRDs are faced with numerous challenges; surveillance, vilification, arbitrary arrests, malicious prosecutions, torture, threats to their life and livelihoods, thus limiting their operating environment. Despite these challenges, HRDs continue to show resilience in their work towards the realisation of human rights in Kenya.

It is on this premise 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 endeavour to publicly recognise the work of HRDs in Kenya through a HRD award ceremony to take place on 10th December – International Human Rights Day- when we commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948) by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The 2016 Award ceremony willa be hosted by His Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kenya.

THE OBJECTIVES

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. Recognise and appreciate the human rights work of young and upcoming HRDs in Kenya.
  3. Enhance the safety and protection of all HRDs in Kenya

SELECTION PROCESS

  • 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 visit where interviews will be conducted 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 ten names submitted, who the recipient of the HRD award and the upcoming HRD award will be.
  • Award ceremony: this will be held annually on the 10th of December and will see the presence of representatives from the missions, CSOs, government, select HRDs and the media who will cover the event.

SELECTION CRITERIA

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

AWARD

Two awards will be presented to the overall winner, HRD of the year and an upcoming HRD.

The overall winner will receive:

  • Cash reward of $1000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • Will be the guest at the HRD award ceremony 2017

The Upcoming HRD will receive:

  • Cash reward of $1000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • Will be the guest at the HRD award ceremony 2017

The NCHRD-K therefore calls for nominations for the inaugural Human Rights Defenders Award 2016. Nominations are open until October 14 2016 at 12.00 pm.

All nomination forms should be sent back to the NCHRD-K via advocacy@hrdcoalition.org with a clear subject line “HRD AWARD NOMINATION”

Download the nomination form below.

HRDs-Awards-2016-nomination-form

THE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AWARDS 2016

HRDs Awards

HRDs Awards

INTRODUCTION

An independent and vibrant civil society is beneficial to the development of a society that would thrive on the values and principles as intended within the Constitution of Kenya 2010 (Article 10); accountability, transparency, good governance and public participation. Human rights defenders play a critical role in complementing the government in promoting and protecting these values along with respect for human rights. However, in the course of their work, HRDs are faced with numerous challenges; surveillance, vilification, arbitrary arrests, malicious prosecutions, torture, threats to their life and livelihoods, thus limiting their operating environment. Despite these challenges, HRDs continue to show resilience in their work towards the realisation of human rights in Kenya.

It is on this premise 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 endeavour to publicly recognise the work of HRDs in Kenya through a HRD award ceremony to take place on 10th December – International Human Rights Day- when we commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948) by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The 2016 Award ceremony willa be hosted by His Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kenya.

THE OBJECTIVES

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. Recognise and appreciate the human rights work of young and upcoming HRDs in Kenya.
  3. Enhance the safety and protection of all HRDs in Kenya

SELECTION PROCESS

  • 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 visit where interviews will be conducted 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 ten names submitted, who the recipient of the HRD award and the upcoming HRD award will be.
  • Award ceremony: this will be held annually on the 10th of December and will see the presence of representatives from the missions, CSOs, government, select HRDs and the media who will cover the event.

SELECTION CRITERIA

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

AWARD

Two awards will be presented to the overall winner, HRD of the year and an upcoming HRD.

The overall winner will receive:

  • Cash reward of $1000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • Will be the guest at the HRD award ceremony 2017

The Upcoming HRD will receive:

  • Cash reward of $1000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • Will be the guest at the HRD award ceremony 2017

The NCHRD-K therefore calls for nominations for the inaugural Human Rights Defenders Award 2016. Nominations are open until October 14 2016 at 12.00 pm.

All nomination forms should be sent back to the NCHRD-K via advocacy@hrdcoalition.org with a clear subject line “HRD AWARD NOMINATION”

Download the nomination form below.

HRDs-Awards-2016-nomination-form

ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE AND EXTRA JUDICIAL EXECUTION OF WILLIE KIMANI, JOSPHAT MWENDA AND JOSEPH MUIRURI

On June 23, 2016 Willie Kimani, a legal officer working with International Justice Mission (IJM),a Christian legal aid charity, appeared at the Mavoko Law Courts in Machakos County representing an IJM client Josphat Mwenda, a motorcycle taxi rider who was charged with various traffic offences. Shortly before 12pm Willie and Josphat boarded a taxi driven by Joseph Muiruri, to take them to their next destination.Eye witness reports state that the taxi they were travelling in was followed by an Administration police land cruiser which stopped them along Mombasa road and two officers with guns boarded the taxi. There is strong evidence indicating that Willie, Josphat and Joseph were unlawfully detained at the Syokimau AP Camp for a period on June 23, 2016 and were moved soon thereafter.

The bodies of Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri were recovered on June 30, 2016 from Ol Donyo Sabuk River in Machakos County, Eastern Kenya; a week after the three went missing in circumstances suggesting they were victims of enforced disappearance. Post Mortem, reports have revealed that the three suffered severe torture prior to their death.

Background of the case

On April 10, 2015 at about 2.00 PM when Josphat Mwenda, while a pillion passenger on a friend’s motorcycle, was stopped by two ununformed police officers one of whom they later realized was a well-known senior Administration Police officer from the area. According to eye witnesses, the AP officer shot Josphat without provocation, after which the AP officer transported Josphat to hospital together with his colleague, and thereafter placed him in police custody. In an attempt to cover up the shooting, Josphat was fraudulently charged with “being in possession of narcotic drugs”, “gambling in a public place”, and “resisting arrest.” Curiously, four other officers, who were not at the scene, recorded statements in support of these malicious and fabricated charges. Josphat sought legal assistance with IJM who immediately took on his case.

Josphat reported the shooting incident to the IPOA and has since faced persistent threats. On December 13, 2015, the same officer responsible for the shooting, in the company of other AP officers picked Josphat up from his home. He was taken to Mlolongo Police Station and charged the following day with six (6) counts of fabricated traffic charges.  These were: (i) riding a motorcycle without a helmet; (ii) riding a motorcycle without a reflective jacket; (iii) carrying excess passengers; (iv)carrying un-insured passengers; (v) riding un-insured motorcycle; and (vi) riding a motorcycle without a driving license. This was despite the fact that Josphat was still undergoing physiotherapy on his arm, and was therefore unable to ride a motorcycle.

Throughout this time, Josphat has been the victim of numerous threats and intimidation, including an incident on February 16, 2016 when he was picked by two men from court claiming to be officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The officers alleged that they were investigating a robbery with violence case and that Josphat and others were suspects. An IJM Advocate insisted on being present during the interrogation where Josphat’s identity documents were taken from him then returned shortly afterwards.

Action

Kenyans reacted with grief and outrage to the discovery of the bodies of Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwendwa and Joseph Muiruri on July 1, 2016. Civil Society Organisations, Taxi drivers, Boda Boda riders and lawyers in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mwingi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Wajir, Garissa and Mombasa held peaceful demonstrations on the July 4, 2016 to express their outrage and present petitions to the Office of the President and the Inspector General of Police demanding for justice for Willie, Josphat and Joseph. On July 6, 2016 CSOs joined lawyers as they peacefully demonstrated the summary execution of Willie, Josphat and Joseph and they presented a petition to the Inspector General of Police.

Representatives from Haki Africa joined the peaceful Mombasa protest

Representatives from HAKI Africa joined the peaceful Mombasa protest

Mombasa peaceful demo.

Mombasa peaceful demo.

Mwingi paceful demo outside Mwingi Law Courts.

Peaceful demo outside Mwingi Law Courts.

Nakuru peaceful demo.

Nakuru peaceful demo outside the regional Commissioner’s Office.

Paul Masese leads the Nakuru peaceful demo.

Paul Masese leads the Nakuru peaceful demo.

Kamau Ngugi- NCHRD-K adressing the gathering at freedom corner.

Kamau Ngugi, NCHRD-K addressing the gathering at Freedom Corner.

Irungu Houghton- SID reading the petition outside the Office of the President in the Nairobi Peaceful Demo.

Irungu Houghton, SID, reading the petition outside the Office of the President during the Nairobi Peaceful Demo.

Tanzania's Human Rights Defenders in soliderity with their Kenyan counterparts.

Tanzania’s Human Rights Defenders in solidarity with their Kenyan counterparts.

 

Martha Karua joined in solidarity with CSOs for the Nairobi demo.

Martha Karua joined in solidarity with CSOs for the Nairobi demo.

Kamau Ngugi- NCHRD-K and Davis Malombe- KHRC at the Mau Mau Monument.

Kamau Ngugi, NCHRD-K and Davis Malombe, KHRC at the Mau Mau Monument.

Fr Dolan making a statement during Mombasa demo.

Fr Dolan making a statement during Mombasa demo.

Yash Pal Ghai and Maina Kiai in Nairobi peaceful demo.

Yash Pal Ghai and Maina Kiai in Nairobi peaceful demo.

Activists and LSK members outside the Office of the Presdident at Hrambeee House

Activists and LSK members outside the Office of the President at Harambee House.

Activists and members of the public at Hilton Hotel during the peaceful protest.

HRDs during the peaceful protest.

HRDS in the Nairobi Demo

HRDs in the Nairobi Demo

Kamu Ngugi,NCHRD- doing opeining remarks at Freedom Corner before the peaceful protest.

Joint Statement by Heads of Mission on disappearance and murder of Kenyan Human Rights Defender and Associates [PDF]

Enforced Disappearance and Extra Judicial Execution on Willie Kimani [PDF]

Joint CSO Statement on the EJE of Willie, Joseph and Josphat [PDF]

Petition to the Inspector General of Police [PDF]

Petition to the President Uhuru Kenyatta [PDF]

 

Donor Round Table Meeting

The vital role that human rights defenders play in the promotion and protection of democracy, rule of law and human rights; and the violations that many of them face convinced the United Nations that special efforts were needed to protect both defenders and their activities leading to the adoption of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders. At the regional level, the need for the protection of HRDs in Africa was realised when the Grand Bay (Mauritius) Declaration was adopted by the African Union, requiring its member states “to take appropriate steps to implement the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in Africa”. Later in 2003, the Kigali Declaration reinforced the recognition of “the important role that the human rights defenders play in the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa”.

These developments were hoped to guarantee human rights defenders a conducive working environment within which to carry out their work and safeguard them against various forms of violations perpetrated against them due to the criminalisation of their work. However, the gains made are diminishing as States have put in place measures that claw back on the civic space for HRDs operation within their borders. This has been done through policies and practices which have created a harsh and punitive environment for dissent and dissenters, as is the case with Kenya.

The National Coalition of Human Rights –Kenya (NCHRD-K) was established in 2007, and remains the only national human rights organization whose primary mandate is to respond to the challenges and risks faced by HRDs in Kenya. The pivotal role of NCHRD-K to work towards creating a safe working environment for HRDs is especially critical at this time in history when global and national trends point to a shrinking operating space and threats to human rights work. In the past eight (8) years, the NCHRD-K has demonstrated unwavering commitment to HRDs by ensuring that lives of human rights advocates were safeguarded, their voices are not stifled, and that human rights work is promoted in spite of increased surveillance, vilification, arbitrary arrests, malicious prosecutions, torture, threats to their life and livelihoods. The 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, through protection, capacity building and advocacy for a favourable legal and policy environment.

As the organizations has grown so has been the increased demand on its services as more human rights defenders have embraced their civic and constitutional mandate to actively participate in governance processes, to hold their leaders to account by highlighting human rights violation and malpractices by the ruling class at the county and national level. These together with emerging concerns over the Governments human rights record, as it addresses growing challenges of insecurity and terrorism, as well as increased human rights abuses perpetrated by non-state actors without government protection for citizen, have exposed human rights defenders to extreme risks and reprisals as they conduct their work. This demand for new strategies to address such challenges necessitates the broadening of support for human rights defenders work by various partners.

The donor round table was therefore intended to update NCHRD-K partners regarding the work of the NCHRD-K, how to best improve the partnership and overall service delivery to human rights defenders in Kenya. The meeting further discussed emerging challenges faced by human rights defenders and to seek sustained and broader support for the work of NCHRD-K as a contribution towards enhancing the capacity of citizens, HRDs and human rights organizations to effectively engage in lawful activities leading to development of good governance practices, and the promotion of a human rights culture without fear of reprisals.

Kenyan CSOs offices raided by Government officials

In the past few days CSOs in Kenya that are critical of government human rights practices during the fight against terrorism in Kenya have been under siege.

While announcing measures to combat terrorism and radicalization of youth in Kenya, the government have publicized a list of individuals and organizations that the state claimed supported terrorism activities through financial support.

Among the 85 individuals and organizations that the government stated were under investigation, and ordered their accounts frozen, were two Civil Society Organizations based in Mombasa Kenya  – MUHURI and HAKI Africa. The two organizations have been at the forefront in exposing human rights violations by the state in its fight against terrorism in the Coast and their work is respected nationally, and internationally.

The two organizations have denied both allegations of being associated with terrorism or engaging in tax evasion. They are concerned that they are targeted for intimidation and other forms of persecution because of their legitimate human rights work

The Bank accounts of both Muslim for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa were frozen on 8th April 2015. The two organizations have since presented themselves to offices of Director of Criminal Investigations in Nairobi where they have denied the state allegations.

On 20 April 2015, offices of Haki Africa were raided by officers from Kenya Revenue Authority. The officers had a court order allowing them to access and or take away files or equipment from the organisation for investigation of tax evasion. The officers took away files, hard-drives and office safe of the organization. On 21 April 2015, the officers from KRA further raided offices of Muslim for Human Rights. The court order allowed them to also take away files and equipment on similar grounds. In addition to files and hard drives, they went ahead and dismantled the organizations server which they took away.

In 2013, MUHURI released a report “We’re Tired of Taking you to Court” which highlights the human rights abuses by the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, including unlawful killings, disappearances, renditions, raids and arbitrary detention; and the effect these violations on the community.

HAKI Africa is in the process of finalising a report that highlights summary executions of Muslim clerics in the Coast of Kenya.  HAKI Africa has also been a vocal actor in holding the state to account for human rights violations perpetrated by its security forces. In the exposé “Inside Kenya’s death squads” featured in Al Jazeera, the executive director of HAKI Africa Hussein Kahlid featured prominently speaking against the states human rights abuses in dealing with those suspected of terrorist activities. The Executive Director of Haki Africa, Hussein Khalid, was one of two Kenyan civil society leaders who was invited to and participated in the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in February 2015.

For more information contact:

Muslim for Human Rights on ​+254 41 2227811 or info@muhuri.org

Haki Africa on +254 20 222 0814,  +254 20 222 0814 or info@hakiafrica.or.ke

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