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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

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