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Top 5 Key Issues to Consider when Discussing Pluralism in Kenyan Society

by KHRC
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on Monday, 24 August 2015
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By Laura Maina

Discrimination is defined as ‘treating someone differently in a negative way’ because of who they are or what they believe. Such difference is expressed in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, weight, class, caste, religion, belief, language, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, health and status quo.

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Dynamics of achieving the two third gender rule

by KHRC
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on Wednesday, 22 July 2015
Equality & Anti-Discrimination

What is the two third gender rule?

The two third gender rule is one of the affirmative actions enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya in Article 27(8) of the Bill of right to help enhance equality. The two third gender rule requires that not more than two thirds of any elective or appointive position in the government of Kenya shall be of the same gender. It’s enshrined in the devolution chapter and is principle electoral governance in Kenya as per Article 81(b) of the Constitution. The senate , national assembly , county assemblies , all cabinets ( national government and county Government , Boards , the judiciary , constitutional commission and all state offices are therefore bound by this rule .

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Protection Freedoms and preservation of Security-Towards a complimentary approach

by KHRC
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on Tuesday, 14 July 2015
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By Roland Ebole

National Security shall be pursued in compliance with the law and with utmost respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. - Article 238 of the Constitution of Kenya

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Recommendations towards the protection of freedoms and preservation of security

by KHRC
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on Tuesday, 14 July 2015
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By Davis Malombe, Lilian Kantai and Roland Ebole

Security in Kenya remains a national discourse particularly with the spate of terrorist attacks around the country. However, there are several issues that the government must consider in counter-terror efforts. In tackling insecurity the state and security agencies must, recognize that human rights and freedoms are compatible with and are a key component to the achievement of sustainable peace and development in the country. In this regard they should act in accordance with Article 238 of the Constitution of Kenya, which provides inter alia ‘National Security shall be pursued in compliance with the law and with utmost respect for the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms’. To this extend enhanced national security and respect for human rights remains a set of complimentary and mutually inclusive principles and outcomes of good governance in any society.

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Demistfying Lesbians, Gay,Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI)

by KHRC
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on Wednesday, 20 May 2015
LGBTI
May 17th is celebrated all over the word as International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT). The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBTIQ communities worldwide. This day highlights the ongoing challenges experienced by the LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer) and seek support to bring inclusiveness of all persons in the world through dialogue, media advocacy, policy reviews and public forums.scroll back to top
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NATIONALISM & PHOBIAS: How inequality killed patriotism

by KHRC
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on Monday, 20 April 2015
Equality & Anti-Discrimination

By Laura Maina

Xenophobic violence in South Africa illuminates opens discussion on human rights issues across the globe. Leaders and citizens of different nationalities are condemning the act deemed to be inhuman. The acts of looting, burning, killing of fellow black foreigners in the country has resulted to many states strategizing on evacuation for their citizens from the Durban city.

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Are We Learning the Right Lessons in the War Against Terror?

by KHRC
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on Wednesday, 15 April 2015
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By Andrew Songa- Programme Advisor, Transformative Justice

"The way America changed after 9/11 is the way Kenya will change after Garissa,"- William Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya

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Election Monitoring to Ensure Protection of Rights

by KHRC
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on Monday, 13 April 2015
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By Carol Werunga – Programme Advisor – Electoral Governance

KHRC regularly embarks on elections monitoring under the Transformative Justice Progamme because this process helps to promote and protect the rights of participants in elections. Election monitoring is conducted by KHRC in a bid to:

  • Build public confidence in the electoral processes,
  • Deter manipulation and fraud, and
  • Correct weak practices such as voter bribery and intimidation, discrimination, and violence in the electoral process even when the process itself is still underway.
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Surveillance as a Threat to Human Rights

by KHRC
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on Tuesday, 31 March 2015
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By Andrew Songa- Programme Manager- Transformative Justice

Surveillance and criminal investigations are not supposed to be easy… When someone shows up on your doorstep with a warrant; you do not give them a tour. – Edward Snowden

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A Reflection on the Rights of LGBTI Persons in Kenya

by KHRC
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on Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Equality & Anti-Discrimination
The LGBTI individuals in Kenya continue to be some of the most marginalized and discriminated individuals because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.scroll back to top
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Delivering the Women’s Agenda: Beyond the Written

by KHRC
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on Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Equality & Anti-Discrimination

The National Action Plan sets out the roles of stakeholders in the Women’s Agenda. It was launched by Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning, Anne Waiguru, on 26 February 2015 at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi. All partners and leaders present committed to delivering the Women’s Agenda as set out in the Women’s Charter. The launch brought together grassroots peoples, organisations, scholars, national government, county government and international partners working together on the Women’s Agenda.

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Maintain focus on development friendly EPA deal

by KHRC
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on Monday, 18 August 2014
Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.

The East African region has of recent past experienced concerted diplomatic tactic
from the European Union pushing for a signature of the EAC-EU Economic
Partnerships Agreement (EPAs).scroll back to top
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Sugarcane Farmers Need COMESA Safeguards

by KHRC
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on Thursday, 27 February 2014
Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.

The recent effort by the Kenyan government to push for an extension of the sugar waiver by common market for eastern and southern Africa (COMESA) is a huge boost to the already vulnerable sugar industry. Some of the conditions that Kenya was advised to meet included lowering the cost of production, privatization of State-owned millers and changing of the cane-selling formula. This is the fourth time Kenya is seeking an extension of the limits on duty free quotas since 2004 despite wavering on changes like privatization which would have made millers stand up better to competition. For Kenyan competitors such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Mauritius, they have developed elaborate diversification programs, lowered production costs and have a very high level of efficiency.The recent effort by the Kenyan government to push for an extension of the sugar waiver by common market for eastern and southern Africa (COMESA) is a huge boost to the already vulnerable sugar industry. Some of the conditions that Kenya was advised to meet included lowering the cost of production, privatization of State-owned millers and changing of the cane-selling formula. This is the fourth time Kenya is seeking an extension of the limits on duty free quotas since 2004 despite wavering on changes like privatization which would have made millers stand up better to competition. For Kenyan competitors such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Mauritius, they have developed elaborate diversification programs, lowered production costs and have a very high level of efficiency.The recent effort by the Kenyan government to push for an extension of the sugar waiver by common market for eastern and southern Africa (COMESA) is a huge boost to the already vulnerable sugar industry. Some of the conditions that Kenya was advised to meet included lowering the cost of production, privatization of State-owned millers and changing of the cane-selling formula. This is the fourth time Kenya is seeking an extension of the limits on duty free quotas since 2004 despite wavering on changes like privatization which would have made millers stand up better to competition. For Kenyan competitors such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Mauritius, they have developed elaborate diversification programs, lowered production costs and have a very high level of efficiency.The recent effort by the Kenyan government to push for an extension of the sugar waiver by common market for eastern and southern Africa (COMESA) is a huge boost to the already vulnerable sugar industry. Some of the conditions that Kenya was advised to meet included lowering the cost of production, privatization of State-owned millers and changing of the cane-selling formula. This is the fourth time Kenya is seeking an extension of the limits on duty free quotas since 2004 despite wavering on changes like privatization which would have made millers stand up better to competition. For Kenyan competitors such as Malawi, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Mauritius, they have developed elaborate diversification programs, lowered production costs and have a very high level of efficiency.

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WHAT IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THIS DEBATE?

by KHRC
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on Friday, 22 June 2012
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From: Elijah Kamau Mwangi

The first thing i did, before writing this letter, is to browse through your website and find out what it is that you as a commission do and stand for. It is not that i did not know what you do. No, i just wanted to confirm what i already knew.  True, your website is great and the information contained there-in is well focussed. That should be a big plus for you as an organisation.

Now, there is this debate you introduced where you want Kenyan men to marry men and women to marry women for sexual fulfillment. Obviously, you should agree with me that such marriages can not be used for procreation.

Why is this debate taking place at all? The question of same sex marriages was put to rest when Kenyans passed the new constitution. I know you understand that Kenyans were opposed to the prof. Ghai draft, in part, due to the inclusion of a clause that would have legalised same sex marriages. The new constitution outlaws same sex marriages in the same vein in which it outlaws criminal activities etc etc.

You may want to urgue that if prostitution is not a crime so same sex marriages should also be decriminalised. I have the following to say.

1. Same sex marriages is not natural. God never intended it to be that way. Just take a keen look at the animal kingdom and draw your own conclusions.

2. If taking drugs like Bangi, Cocaine, Mandrax etc is not allowed by society, the same should go for same sex marriages. The society should not allow individuals to destroy themselves physically, mentally and spiritually just because their actions are of an individual nature and do not affect the rights of the other people.

3. Its already proven that lesbians soon come to terms with the reality. They fail to live up to their expectations and soon become unresponsive. They call it lesbian bed death. Is this what you want for our daughters? The same can also be said of gays.

4. In a nutshell what you are advocating is similar to saying that people should be  let to destroy themselves because they have a right to satisfy their desires. That the society shoould legalise suicide, substance abuse, pornography, etc.

5. Finally, i want to believe that the word 'groups' in your mission statement does not include gays, lesbians, transgenders, smokers, robbers etc but refers to those groups  that are recognised by our new constitution.

Please stop this debate. It will not add value to anyone, not even to those few misguided Kenyans.

Dear Elijah,

I hope that you are well. Thank you for your email titled "what is the substance?" It is always good to receive feedback on the work that we do and the effect that it has.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission works on all areas of human rights advocacy. One of these areas is the provision of human rights for all Kenyans including sexual minorities (Lesbian, gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender persons). The provision of these rights are based on equality and non-discrimination and the right for every Kenyan to live their lives in peace and harmony without fear of prejudice and persecution.

The limitation of the provision of rights to all people would be that if in the enjoyment of these rights, one infringes on the rights of someone else. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex persons are Kenyans who are entitled to the same rights that every Kenyan enjoys. The community, however, suffer gross human rights violations such as severe beatings, rape,  torture, discrimination amongst others, because of how they choose to live their lives in the privacy of their own homes.

It is important to point out that the manner in which these persons choose to live their lives, does not directly affect any person and how they choose to live their lives. The essence of democracy, to have the right to live your life as you see fit.

The Kenyan Human Rights Commission is dedicated to ensure that no one should suffers persecution and therefore, we intervene to ensure that all persons are protected from this illegality, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We work to serve all Kenyans, and we undertake to protect any person who is suffering in any way.

The new constitution ensures protection of a variety of different human rights which includes the right to equality and non-discrimination, the right to freedom and security of the person, right to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of movement and residence and freedom of conscience, religion, belief and opinion.

Every Kenyan is allowed to think and feel as they want to, however, when a person takes these thoughts or feelings and use them to cause harm to someone else either physically or mentally, they are going against the constitution and in violation of the persons human rights.

In feeling strongly against how someone chooses to live their life, you are exercising your right to freedom of belief and opinion, but you must not use this prejudice to makes someone else's life difficult or to persecute them.

Legally, there is no reason that is attached to the right to marry. Marriage being solely for procreation purposes is a religious belief and/or a personal belief. However, Kenyans have the right to freedom of religion, belief and conscience. It is very important to separate religious beliefs and person beliefs. One cannot impose religious beliefs on someone who does not have them, nor can you impose one’s personal beliefs on another.

Whereas the constitution states in Article 45(2) that "every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex", it does NOT prohibit or criminalize marriage between same sex persons. In fact, there is no law that prohibits same sex marriage. The law however, expressly states that the only marriage which is recognizable by law in Kenya, is one between persons of the opposite sex. If persons of the same sex choose to marry, it cannot be conducted by a registered state official or registered in law.

The State in protecting Kenyans and providing for its citizens, CANNOT direct how persons lives their lives as it is a constitutional guarantee to live your life as you deem fit. In the same thought, the Society MUST respect each and every individual's right and their choices in how they conduct their life. Everybody in society has an opinion and more often than not, they differ. It would be impossible for all persons to agree on one set way for everyone to live, financially, materially and morally.

Finally, I think that it is prudent to remember that we have to be accepting of all members of the society as we are all Kenyans. We have to be respectful of all tribes, races, cultures and beliefs in order to achieve a truly inclusive and equal society.

I hope that this enables you to understand the work that theCommission does. We are thankful for your continued support

Best wishes,

Monicah Kareithi

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Provincial Administration stifles ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs)

by KHRC
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on Friday, 16 March 2012
Constitutional Reforms

The President’s refusal to assent the County Governments Bill, 2011 is a blessing that places Provincial Administration (PA) in the limelight for a critical look at its structure, purpose and what role it has played in Kenya’s development.

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Nothing to Celebrate for Wilting Women Working Under the Heat of Workplace Injustice

by Tom Kagwe
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on Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.

It is yet another International Women’s Day. But women who work in flower farms across the country have little to celebrate.

A recent study, Wilting in Bloom: The Irony of Women Labour Rights in the Cut-Flower Sector in Kenya by the Kenya Human Rights Commission exposes the violations that face women working there.

Ironically, Kenya is a key player in the global cut-flower market, which in 2010, generated over $7.5 billion. However, these billions mean nothing to those who truly labour to produce the flowers, flowers that are loved across the world and, of course, will be given as a sign of love to women during this International Women’s Day, as happened during Valentine’s Day.

The study, conducted among 15 flower companies in Naivasha, Thika, and Athi River, shows several outcomes.

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Ten Requirements for Candidates for Vying in Elections

by Tom Kagwe
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on Friday, 17 February 2012
Elections

Ballot paperBallot paperWhereas some Kenyans have expressed their aspirations to seek elective offices, such as to be the president, governor, senator, or members of the national or county assemblies, there seems to be very little debate about what is needed to vet those who are seeking these offices. The Chapter on Leadership and Integrity, read together with the Chapter on Representation of the People, gives fair but firm principles, which we could rely on to vet all candidates. This should be done from national to county levels. We propose that before anyone appears on the ballot paper, they present the following 10 certificates or letters of clearance to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

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TRIBUTE TO THE LATE PROF. WANGARI MUTA MAATHAI

by Beryl Aidi
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on Saturday, 08 October 2011
Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.

 

THE KENYA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TRIBUTE TO PROF. WANGARI MAATHAI

OCTOBER 8, 2011

A lot has been said about the exploits of the Late Prof. Wangari Maathai and we shall not repeat it here. As the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), we pay our tribute to this great woman by upholding what she stood for and was ready to die for.


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Which narrative do you belong to???

by Tom Kagwe
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on Friday, 12 August 2011
Constitutional Reforms

The Story of Kenya in the New Era

Since the promulgation of the new Constitution of Kenya (2010), many narratives are going on and they are very interesting. The first narrative is about those who dared oppose the new order. In this new Kenya, strangely, they have space to do what they want. How about the Church exercising their freedoms and even opposing those who wear earrings or even to writing how the new Constitution ought to be implemented in the spirit of common good? How about Okiya Omtatah (so-called ‘human rights activist’) chaining the office of the Ministry of Education and even writing commentaries about the importance of constitutionalism in the new era? When one sees this narrative, it is worth noting that what they opposed vehemently has now made sense to them in the new era.

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Three Women and the Referendum

by Tom Kagwe
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on Friday, 15 October 2010
Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.

The date for the National Referendum on the Proposed Constitution Kenya (PCK) is on 4th August 2010; and it is approaching very fast. The ‘greens’ (those in favour) and the ‘reds’ (those opposed to) are busy campaigning. They are even breaking the law by campaigning ahead of the day provided for by the Constitution of Kenya Review Act. Already, there is friction between and within both ‘camps’. In the midst of this, everyone is angling themselves to either get into power or stay in power come the next elections.

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