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Shelter City Netherlands: Call for temporary relocation in 2019

Justice and Peace Netherlands is launching a new call for human rights defenders at risk to participate in the Shelter City initiative around March 2019. The deadline to apply is 30 November 2018. 

Shelter City offers human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk a possibility for rest and respite by letting them escape temporarily from a threatening situation. The initiative can benefit human rights defenders that are threatened or under intense pressure due to their work. Shelter City is an initiative coordinated by Justice and Peace Netherlands together with  municipalities in the Netherlands, local partners, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How does Shelter City work?

Through temporary relocation, human rights defenders will be offered a shelter for 3 months in one of the Shelter Cities in the Netherlands, during which they can rest, continue their work in safety, build up capacity (including a one-week compulsory training on security), extend their network and raise awareness about the situation in their country. Activities can include meetings with NGOs and public authorities, public lectures, rest or leisure, treatment for work-related problems, continuing working on human rights in their country, raising awareness of human rights among the Dutch public or participating in local initiatives organised by the municipality and/or the host organisation. At the end of the programme, participants are expected to return with new tools and energy to carry out their work at home. A monthly stipend, accommodation, health insurance, visa and return flight tickets to The Netherlands are provided.

Who can apply for Shelter City?

For the purposes of Shelter City, the term HRD is intended to refer to the broad range of activists, journalists, scholars, writers, artists, political figures, lawyers, civil rights defenders, independent media professionals, civil society members, and others working to advance human rights and democracy peacefully around the world.

Applicants must fulfill the following conditions:

In order to be eligible to the Shelter City programme, HRDs must meet the following conditions:

  1. They implement a non-violent approach in their work;
  1. They are threatened or otherwise under pressure due to their work.;
  2. They should be able to be relocated for a period of maximum 3 months. Limited spots are available for people who are not able to stay for the full 3 months;
  3. They are willing and able to return to their country of origin after 3 months;
  4. They are willing to speak publicly about their experience or about human rights in their country to the extent that their security situation allows.
  5. They have a conversational level* of English (limited spots are available for French or Spanish speaking HRDs);
  6. They are willing and able to come to The Netherlands without accompaniment;
  7. They are willing to begin their stay in The Netherlands around March 2019.

*By conversational English we mean that participants’ level of English allows them to actively participate in a training, speak about their work, communicate with the host city, etc.

Note that additional factors will be taken into consideration in the final round of selection, such as the added value of a stay in The Netherlands as well as gender, geographic, and thematic balance. Please note that we can only accept HRDs currently residing in a third country under exceptional circumstances.

To apply or submit the application of a human rights defender, please fill in the form by clicking ‘Apply Now’ below. Application forms must be completed by 30 November 2018, at 23:59 CET (Central European Time). An independent commission will select the participants.

Apply Now for Shelter City 2019

Note that the selected human rights defenders will not be automatically allowed into the Shelter City programme as Justice and Peace is not in control of issuing the required visas to enter the Netherlands.

For more information, please contact: sheltercity@justiceandpeace.nl.



10th December 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which recognises the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’. As we mark this special milestone, we cannot forget to mention the individuals who play a critical, yet highly risky, role in the realisation of the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the UDHR, and echoed within the Kenyan Constitution 2010.

Groups and individuals who engage themselves on this road are the preferred targets of authorities and private groups who make use of various forms of repression to silence these individuals. These groups and individuals are defined as human rights defenders within The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders which was adopted in December 1998. [1]

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 National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K) in partnership with 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. The inaugural HRD awards ceremony was launched in December 2016.


Background of the HRD Awards

As we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Declaration on HRDs, the NCHRD-K and the working group on human rights defenders continue to play a pioneering role in the protection and recognition of human rights defenders through the HRD award of the year 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.

The awards are classified in three categories;

  1. Upcoming HRD of the Year Award
  2. Human Rights Defender of the Year Award
  3. Munir Mazrui Lifetime Achievement Award

The process of selecting the winner is initiated by sending out a call for nominations, which outlines the criteria for eligibility for nomination. A shortlisting panel reviews the nomination and shortlists five HRDs per category. A verification process thereafter commences identifying the veracity of the work of the HRDs and the impact on their community. The selection of the winners is done by a Judging Panel that comprises eminent individuals, chaired by the former Chief Justice of Kenya, Dr. Willy Mutunga.

The 2016 and 2017 HRD awards were hosted by the Ambassador of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, H E Frans Makken.

About HRD Awards 2018 Ceremony

The 2018 HRD of the year award ceremony will be held on 30th November 2018, from 3pm to 6pm. The award ceremony will bring together over 300 guests drawn from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), government, private sector, Human Rights Defenders (from 47 counties), missions and media.

For further details and booking of media slots, kindly contact:

Francis Ndegwa, Communications Officer, National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya

Email: francis@hrdcoalition.org; Tel; 0721443397),

[1] The Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms





  1. We the Police Reforms Working Group-Kenya (PRWG-K), the Social Justice Centre Working Group (SJCWG) and human rights defenders pass our deepest condolences to police officers and civilians who have been victims of acts of crime in the recent past, and wish the surviving ones quick recovery.
  2. We are well aware that Kenyans are increasingly experiencing violent crime. We therefore cannot under any circumstances underestimate the trauma that our society is living through, due to the increase in cases of violent crime, and the apparent inability of the National Police Service to reduce these incidences and, or successfully prosecute these cases.
  3. We stand with Kenyans, especially victims of violent crime who are extremely frustrated by the increased number of suspects who continue to roam freely intimidating and threatening victims and witnesses, eliminating witnesses, and in some cases committing new crimes, mainly due to botched investigations and police corruption.
  4. However the Police Reforms Working Group- Kenya (PRWG-K) wishes to express grave concern over increasing incidences of deaths from police use of lethal force in the country. Over the past one month, incidences of torture and extrajudicial executions implicating police officers are on an all- time high. This is especially regrettable at a time when the country is embracing the new police reforms initiatives to transform our police force to a civilian-centered police service.
  1. In particular, the PRWG-K strongly condemns the alleged summary executions of 24 young men in Mathare, Majengo, Kayole and Dandora in the last 3 weeks, by officers believed to be attached to the Huruma and Dandora Police Stations.
  2. A case in point is the shooting of a twenty year old man who was walking home in Mathare North Area, after arriving from his place of work on Friday, October 26th, 2018. Incidentally, there had been a robbery at a supermarket in the area (Family Choice). In the process of police pursuing the “suspected thugs”, he was shot in the thigh. A Good Samaritan rushed him to Mathare North Health Centre. He then called his wife but her phone was off forcing him to call a neighbor. The neighbor then informed the deceased’s wife and they rushed him to the health Centre where they found him. They were advised to take him to Mama Lucy Hospital prompting the neighbor to make a call to arrange for transport. Immediately after the call, a group of over 10 officers allegedly arrived brandishing guns and asking where the ‘thug’ was and that he had their “property”. They picked him from where he was lying and bundled him into the boot of a white probox car. They then drove off with the deceased not informing the wife and neighbor where they were heading. The next day, the deceased’s employer led a search party from one police station to the other, health facilities and morgues. It was then at City Mortuary that they found his corpse with seven gunshot wounds.
  3. The actions of the police officer on the night of 28th and 29th October 2018 point to a clear contravention of Article 26, every person has the right to life. A person shall not be deprived of life intentionally, except to the extent authorized by the Constitution or other written law. Further, the National Police Service Act 2011 Schedule 6 (B) provides that ‘Firearms may only be used when less extreme measures are inadequate, and for the following purposes: a) saving or protecting the life of the officer or other persons; and b) self-defense or in defense of other person against imminent threat of life or serious injury.

We are greatly dismayed by the impunity displayed by the police officer in this incident and many more, and call for the following action:

1. The Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) expedite investigations into the apparent summary execution of the 20 young men and forward the report to the director of public prosecution’s office for prosecution

of the officers found culpable.

  1. We appeal to all eye witnesses and anybody else with evidence on this killing to come forward and present their information to the IPOA;
  2. The National Police Service Commission should institute disciplinary actions against the police officer;
  3. The need to speedily implement in full the National Coroners Service Act 2017 to provide for independent forensic investigations of questionable deaths;
  4. We call for the formation of a judicial inquiry into cases of extrajudicial killings in the country;
  5. We urge the government to allow the request by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to visit the country to assess the situation of extra judicial killings and make appropriate recommendations;
  6. We commend all police officers who have embraced the ongoing reforms and urge those officers with information on these killings to liaise with IPOA to ensure thatthat we rid the force of those not willing to change;
  7. Lastly, we continue to firmly believe that failure to hold the officers individually responsible and accountable will only continue to undermine the ongoing reforms under the central command of the Inspector General, and entrench a culture of impunity within the National Police Service.

Finally we urge the IG, IPOA, the IAU and the NPSC to enhance mechanisms of bringing to end indiscriminate executions of people without due process of the law. It is our considered view that the police cannot be investigators, prosecutors, judges and executioners at the same time.


National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya (NCHRD-K)

Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)

International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ-K)

International Commission of Jurists –Kenya (ICJ-K)

Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
International Justice Mission (IJM)
Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU)

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR)
Rights Promotion and Protection Centre (RPP)
Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-K)
Coalition on Violence against Women (COVAW)
Kenyans for Peace, Truth and Justice (KPTJ)

Usalama Reforms
Amnesty International – Kenya
Transparency International Kenya
Katiba Institute (KI)
Social Justice Centre Working Group (SJCWG)


Midwifing the African Women Human Rights Defenders’ Platform

In July 2018, Urgent Action Fund Africa (UAF-Africa) brought together forty-five women human rights defenders (WHRDs) from across Africa and the diaspora to discuss the possibility of creating a platform that would facilitate more durable ways of supporting WHRDs and feminists working on the front line of social justice movements. National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya was represented by the Protection Officer, Salome Nduta who is also in charge of WHRDs program in the organisation.

The meeting drew together activists working across a range of issues from political governance, sexual and reproductive health rights, environmental and economic justice, arts activism, conflict and peacebuilding and Lesbian Bisexual Trans* Queer and Intersex (LBTQI) rights.

The overarching goal of the convening was to begin the process of defining a framework for a Holistic security, safety, wellbeing and collective care platform for African WHRDs that potentially provides litigation support, psychosocial support, training in individual and collective protection and security as well as network and engage in various lobbying and advocacy activities.

Read the Full report here: https://hrdcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/UAF-Africa-Abuja-Feminist-Republik-Abuja_Report-30.09.18.pdf



Based on key findings, some issues emerged in the report. First, majority of the Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in Nairobi County have tertiary education, most are engaged in self- employment, and 80% are affiliated to organisation which are pro-human rights defenders and 69% do not have regular income.

Secondly, the work of human rights defenders is important to promote and protect human rights and the rule of law. This can be achieved through regular training on the rights of HRDs. The report identified that 85% of the human rights defenders need support on human rights and advocacy, support further training on human rights, support on
self-care, support on medical care and employment opportunities.

Finally, there is need for National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya and other stake holders to organize regular human rights training workshops for HRDs. Training for human rights defenders should include training on professionalizing their work as well as on relevant security precautions.Training should involve capacity building that equip human rights defenders with practical knowledge and skills that can enable them acquire gainful employment besides being human rights defenders. Training on practical skills like report writing, data entry technique and analysis, investigative research are recommended.

Download the report here: https://wp.me/aagr4K-MF

Statement on the Operating Environment of Human Rights Defenders in Kenya- ACHPR 63 Ordinary session

63rd Ordinary Session of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Banjul, Gambia


Public Session; Human Rights Situation in Africa

25th October 2018


Madame Chairperson, distinguished Commissioners, State Delegates, representatives of NHRIs and NGOs.


On behalf of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders -Kenya (NCHRD-K), I would like to thank the Commission for this opportunity to raise some of the key human rights concerns from Kenya.

We are particularly concerned that the legitimate role of protection and promotion of human rights carried on by human rights defenders and Civil Society Organizations is criminalized and target for reprisal by both state and non-state actors. Below are a few incidences of violation of human rights fundamental freedoms of human rights defenders in Kenya:

Freedom of Association: Kenyan police have continued to harass and threaten HRDs that  demand justice for victims and advocate for accountability for serious injuries, death and destruction of property by security agents following unrest that took  place post 2017 general elections. Most of the incidents reported by HRDs include threats of arrest, warnings against posting information about police brutality, home and office raids, and confiscation of laptops and other items. The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders documented up to 15 cases where activists suffered these intimidation tactics.[1]The protection of HRDs should be adhered to as prescribed by law.

Freedom of Expression: On 29 May 2018, The High Court in Nairobi temporarily suspended 26 sections of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill, which was signed into law by the President on 16 May 2018, after an appeal by the Bloggers Association of Kenya, among others.[2] While the objective of the law was to address issues including cybercrime, cyber bullying, phishing, and fake news, the law contains provisions which threaten the freedom of expression, right to privacy, the right to a fair trial. On 3 July, the suspension of the 26 provisions was extended when the Court will hear an application by the Attorney General to have the suspension lifted on the basis that it was erroneously issued.

On 31 July, during a parliamentary session, two journalists with the privately-owned People Daily newspaper were threatened with being barred from covering future parliamentary proceedings and summoned to a legislative committee. The summons was allegedly in connection to stories published on 30-31 July accusing MPs of taking and soliciting bribes from organizations and individuals they were meant to be investigating.[3] Such threats and intimidation tactics affect on the freedom of journalists to carry out their legitimate work.

Freedom of Information: In October 2018, the Kenya government introduced a 15% excise duty tax on internet services through a new Finance bill, effected on 15th October. The Bill restricts Kenyans’ access to internet services which plays a major role in promoting access to information.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly: Police arrested two environmental activists on 25 May 2018 during a protest against plans to set up a coal-fired power plant at Kwasasi, Lamu County. The group had sought permission to peacefully assemble and demonstrate but their request was rejected by police who deemed the protest “unlawful.”[4]

The fact that the individuals were arrested while peacefully protesting raises concerns regarding the Kenyan government’s respect for the constitution, Article 11 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights and international law standards that safeguards the right to peacefully assemble.

In light of these updates and observations, we urge the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to:

  • Call on the Kenyan Government to provide a conducive legal environment that will ensure that Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) carry out their work without fear of reprisal.
  • Call on the Kenyan government to cease the harassment of journalists who work towards providing information including on the status of human rights in Kenya
  • Call on the government to remove exercise duty tax being charged on internet tariffs to ensure that Kenyans from all walks of life can access the Internet.
  • Urge Kenya to Develop a policy/law for the protection of Human rights Defenders
  • Urge Kenya to revise sections of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill that seeks to limit freedom of expression and privacy.

I thank You


[1] https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/04/kenya-police-threaten-activists-reporting-abuse

[2] http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Court-suspends-portions-of-Kenya-cybercrime-law/4552908-4586250-1kaa55/index.html

[3] https://cpj.org/2018/08/kenyan-parliamentarians-harass-journalists-followi.php

[4] https://www.nation.co.ke/counties/lamu/Police-arrest-2-anti-Lamu-coal-plant-protester/3444912-4579706-ymfm8l/index.html

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