A defender is characterized by the activity of promoting and protecting human rights. In answering the question ‘Why Focus on WHRDs, the report provides a starting point on the understanding of the challenges faced by WHRDs in Kenya in the course of their human rights work and the reasons why WHRDs in Kenya face these challenges in the course of their human rights work.
Women Human Rights Defenders, who put themselves on the front line in the promotion and protection of human rights, are subject to the same types of risks faced by their male HRDs, but as women, they are also targeted for or exposed to gender-specific violence and violations that have gendered consequences.
Violations that have gendered consequences refers to violations that are experienced by both male and female defenders, but may have different consequences for WHRDs because different social and cultural norms govern the gender identity, sexuality, and gender role of women in different
contexts. For instance, arbitrary arrest or detention of WHRDs adds an additional threat of sexual assault or violence when in custody.
Access the fact sheet for this report here: https://hrdcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Gendered-Risk_-Challenges-WHRDs-Face.pdf
The right to privacy is a fundamental right protected in law across the world including Kenya as
stipulated in the Bill of Rights in the 2010 Constitution. It is essential to the protection of human dignity
and serves as the foundation upon which many other rights are built. Privacy denotes “that area of
individual autonomy in which human beings strive to achieve self realization … alone or together
Human rights work demands use of communication tools ranging from face-to-face, telephones
and e-mails and short message services (SMS). All these provide varied degrees of risk, which are
also specific to the work the HRDs are engaged in, as well as contexts. Numerous Kenyan HRDs have
raised concerns about their mobile phones being tapped and their communication intercepted.
These experiences have implications for HRDs and, therefore, it is essential to ensure that HRDs are
not the subject of unlawful surveillance practices and that they are able to do their work without
fear of snooping by anyone.
This report analyses the needs, concerns and areas of interest for HRDs in relation to privacy, data
protection and communications surveillance. It also establishes how surveillance impacts HRDs work
and their role as actors of change in society. Examining the risk levels based on these specifics as
well as finding the best-suited measures will be important for continued HRDs protection.
This survey set out to:
• Assess HRDs’ level of exposure, understanding, and perception of communication surveillance;
• Document HRDs’ current strategies for mitigating, perceived or actual communication
See the Fact Sheet of the Research here: https://wp.me/aagr4K-NA
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The Sengwer are a minority and marginalized hunter-gatherer indigenous community who occupy
present-day West Pokot, Trans-Nzoia, and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties. Over the years, the Kenyan
government, through the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and other security agencies has made
attempts to evict the indigenous group from their land in Embobut forest under the guise of forest
conservation. These forceful evictions intensified in Embobut forest in December 2017. The Sengwer
homes were torched, crops and household items destroyed and their livestock disappeared. The
Sengwer community, particularly women, cried for help that hardly came.
These forceful evictions are human rights violations of the Sengwer as well as an infringement of
their rights to customary sustainable utilization of forest resources. In addition, the evictions deprive
the community the means of subsistence, integral to their identity, cultural survival, and forest life. It
is important to note that Article 63 of Kenya Constitution 2010 prescribes that an indigenous group
cannot be evicted from their ancestral territory without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
See the Fact Sheet of the Research here: https://wp.me/aagr4K-Nw
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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.
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This report covers an eventful period in the history of defending human rights defenders in Kenya. The country went through general elections in the year and characteristically, the divisive campaigns contaminated the operational environment of the country’s CSOs and HRDs. The work of the NCHRD K was therefore very much linked to the elections. Subsequently, the advocacy and protection programmes of the NCHRD K asserted the centrality of HRD actors as election monitors, repositioning the place of human rights defenders in the election process. Activities through the year emphasized the protection of conducive environment for the work of HRDs as well as the protection of individual HRDs most at risk.
During the year, NCHRD-K put in place a comprehensive programme to manage risks to human rights defenders in the country. Together with partners, the NCHRD-K built an early warning scenario building and strategy group that regularly assessed risks for human rights monitors. Response interventions were then designed within informed parameters. The NCHRD-K deployed about 102 monitors from all the 47 counties and HRD groups at risk such as sexual minority groups, journalists, bloggers and indigenous peoples to take part in monitoring the elections. Wherever risks to the monitors were reported, the NCHRD-K took rapid measures to manage them. The reports of the monitors were publicly shared with duty bearers who came under pressure to respond to things requiring their attention in line with commitments reached in the partnership built with the NCHRD K in the preparatory meetings leading to the process.
The NCHRD-K built a strong, secure and effective team of country wide monitors, equipped through a comprehensive training program to monitor, document and report on human rights violations during Elections 2017. As a result, there were robust human rights based monitors in the elections team in the particular process. In part, the high-quality information and reports of HRD monitors involved in the elections were critical in ensuing electoral petition following the announcement of the presidential election results. Aspects of the observation endorsed the Supreme Court decision to cancel the results for irregularities and illegalities noted in the process. Significantly, observation of human rights in the election process became part of the ventilations in the petitions in which HRDs directly took part. The success attained in monitoring the elections is discussed further in this report.
Going by the incidence reports to NCHRD K, risks faced by individual HRDs and organizations increased in the reporting year. The NCHRD-K working with its partners, particularly the Protection Working Group and the Human Rights Defenders Working Group managed to better clarify the priorities and build a coherent program to respond to the environment. As such, the mandate of the organization to carry out protection of HRDs at risk was conducted with remarkable success, even as human rights faced a tempestuous moment in the backdrop of the elections.
ACCESS THE FULL REPORT HERE: https://hrdcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/NCHRD-K-Annual-Report-2017-.pdf