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Who We Are

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) was founded in 1991 and registered in Kenya in 1994 as a national non-governmental organisation (NGO). Throughout its existence, the core agenda of the Commission has been campaigning for the entrenchment of a human rights and democratic culture in Kenya. Its founders and staff are among the foremost leaders and activists in struggles for human rights and democratic reforms in Kenya. KHRC works at community level with human rights networks (HURINETS) across Kenya and links community, national and international human rights concerns.

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Our Vision and Mission

KHRC envisions a human rights state and society at all levels from the community to global level. KHRC's mission is to foster human rights, democratic values, human dignity and social justice.

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Our Core Values
  1. Fairness and Social Justice: Resources should be distributed equitably to the benefit of all people. State and non-state actors must shape the human rights discourse in their policies, strategies and practices to uphold fairness and social justice.
  2. Participation and Empowerment: State and non-state actors have an obligation to provide information and opportunities for meaningful citizens’ participation in decision making and access to resulting benefits.
  3. Liberty and Human Dignity: Human rights are inherent, inborn and not given by the state. Therefore, people have a right to make decisions without coercion or constraint and are accountable for their choices. All human beings are deserving of equal respect and worth and entitled to the realization of their full potential.
  4. Accountability and Transparency: Power and resources must be used with integrity and responsibility. It is only through accountable governance that human rights can be protected and enjoyed by all. Our own accountability to communities and other allies nationally and internationally, including donors, is key to the success of our work.
  5. Equal Protection and Non-discrimination: All individuals and groups are equal, should be treated with dignity and due regard must be given to their diversity. Genuine democracy can never exist in a society that does not recognize its women and men as equals and that discriminates against individuals and groups based on their race, gender, religion, creed, health status, political opinion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or any other ground.

 

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Our Theory of Change

Our theory of change is grounded on the Rights Based Approach (RBA). RBA is a framework that integrates the norms, principles, standards and goals of the international human rights system into the plans and processes of development. It is characterized by methods and activities that link the human rights system and its inherent notion of power and struggle with development. RBA is able to recognize poverty as injustice and include marginalization, discrimination, and exploitation as central causes of poverty.

RBA has five areas of focus i.e. most vulnerable groups-including issues of gender and discrimination; root causes such as poverty, deprivation and human rights violations; rights holders (those violated) and duty bearers (those with obligations to protect and promote human rights); and empowerment-supporting people’s ability take part in governance processes and claims their rights-both as groups and individuals.

It is the rights holders and duty bearers dichotomy or complimentality that inspires and enable the KHRC to create and sustain a human rights demand from the people (rights/ claim holders) and a corresponding supply or response by the duty bearers(responsible state and non-state actors).   Our notion of demand for human rights is borne in the belief and approach that communities themselves must define, claim and defend their rights. It is by working with communities at their own level, on what is of value to them; and enabling them to understand, articulate and claim their rights, that they can effectively hold duty bearers accountable.

The KHRC defines communities as entities that comprise people who share a share a common struggle and are aiming at seeking remedies to improve their situations. In devising appropriate interventions for their issues, communities are encouraged to provide leadership as the KHRC plays a facilitative and supportive role in instructing strategic direction. Currently, the KHRC work with 22 and 7 local and thematic human rights networks respectively, in the country.

On the supply side, the KHRC realizes that in order to realize the demand for human rights and democratic governance from the rights holders, it is necessary to constructively engage with duty bearers. Their obligation and capacity to promote, respect, protect and fulfill must be enhanced in a dispensation that recognizes the centrality of human rights to governance. The programmes, projects and strategies below respond to both the demand and supply sides of human rights-governance in the society.

We believe that this is the most promising way of creating a sustainable momentum, and ultimately widespread culture of respect and protection of human rights of and by all people and institutions.

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Our History

Kenya started off as a liberal democratic state on attaining independence in 1963. However, efforts to entrench this tradition were crashed in the mid 1960s through emasculation of multi-party politics. Kenya thus operated as a de facto one-party state with the Kenya African National Union (KANU) as the only political party. In 1982, it was made a de jure one party state until democratic forces reversed the situation in 1992. During this time, parliament was a rubber stamp of the executive, sycophancy was institutionalised, the judiciary was at the beck and call of the executive, radical intellectuals were incarcerated and exiled and the language of liberation was anathema.

It is against this background that in 1991 five Kenyans living in exile in the United States of America (USA) and Canada[1] formed KHRC and chose the human rights language because it was easy for the middle class and donors to accept.

 

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Strategic Focus

Having played a key role as a member of the constitutional reference group in the drafting and run up to the referendum and subsequent promulgation of Constitution of Kenya 2010, we shift our focus to safeguarding the gains in this new Constitution which promises to Kenyans a new dawn. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is progressive and rights-based offering an opportunity to build a human rights state and society.

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013 20:37   
Our Achievements

Since inception, the KHRC has worked towards the realization of a human rights state and society with a number of distinct achievements.

1.  Legitimising the human rights discourse in Kenya - Kenya started off as a liberal democratic state at independence in 1963 but quickly became a dictatorship in the mid1960s through emasculation of multi-party politics before becoming a multi-party democracy again in 1992. Radical intellectuals were incarcerated and exiled and the language of liberation was an anathema. However, since its inception in 1991, KHRC has worked to entrench human rights and democratic values working towards legitimization of human rights. Today, Kenyans can talk about human rights without fear of victimization.

2.  Expanding the democratic space - After the Lancaster Constitution of 1963 that was continually mutilated, KHRC drafted the first ever model constitution for Kenya in 1994. This led to the realisation that it was possible for Kenya to have the new constitution, a campaign that was realized with a new progressive constitution promulgated in August 2010.

3.  Exposing and publicizing historical injustices - KHRC instigated the need for justice and reparations for victims and survivors of historical injustices from the pre-independence period to date. Two outstanding examples include:

  • The Mau Mau case where KHRC initiated the Mau Mau Veterans Association and supported success legal actions that have led to the cases have de-stigmatised the victims from being seen as dissidents, terrorists and saboteurs. In October 2012 the Royal Court of Justice in London ruled that the Mau Mau had the right to take the British Government to full trial for the human rights violations including torture committed against them between 1952 and 1957during the British colonial rule in Kenya.  The extensive documentation KHRC has developed on the Mau Mau is useful for national memory and duty bearers in seeking reparations for historical injustices.
  • The Nyayo House Torture Chambers cases  leading to the 2006-10 court ruling for compensation of victims.

4.  Equality and non-discrimination - KHRC, in partnership with other stakeholders, has worked to build a comprehensive equality and anti-discrimination law prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination based on the constitutionally-protected grounds (interpreted expansively to include gender identity and sexual orientation). KHRC’s work has:

•             Contributed to debate on citizenship rights in northern Kenya, influenced legislation on citizenship.

•             Pioneered programming on the rights of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transsexual individuals (LGBTIs). As a result, the Universal Periodic Report (UPR) is consistently challenging Kenya to account for its treatment of minorities.

5.  Campaigns for workers’ rights - KHRC’s 2000-2002 campaign for workers’ rights; as well as its advocacy leading to the review of labour laws in 2007 and the 2010 inclusion of workers’ rights in the constitution has greatly contributed to improvements in work conditions especially in the flower and EPZ sectors.

6.  Instigating demand for government accountability - KHRC’s government monitoring, research on public funds and its 2007 Peoples’ Manifesto and Scorecard Initiative greatly shaped the advocacy for and nature of devolved government in Kenya today. Through its training of community based groups to monitor public spending KHRC has contributed to the growth of a culture of citizen participation in governance.

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KHRC Board and Staff

The following are the people who dedicate their time and energy to make things work here at the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

Board of Directors

Prof. Makau Mutua - Chair
Betty K. Murungi - Vice Chair
Prof. Karuti Kanyinga
Davinder Lamba

Maina Kiai

Atsango Chesoni - Executive Director

Management Team

Atsango Chesoni  - Executive Director

Davis Malombe    - Deputy Executive Director

 Andrew Songa    - Programme Manager, Civil and Politcal Rights (CPR)

Nduta Kweheria  - Programme Manager, Economic and Social Rights(ESR)

Esther Waweru   - Programme Manager, Equality and Non-Discrimination ( END)

Julie Kingsland   - Programme Manager, Monitoring&Evaluation

Programmes/Thematic Areas

Civil and Political Rights

Lillian Kantai             - Programme Advisor, Security Sector Reforms  

Martin Pepela            - Programme Advisor, Legal Affairs 

Sofia Rajab-Leteipan - Programme Advisor, Constitutionalism & Institutional Reforms 

Faith Alubbe             - Programme Advisor, Transitional Justice 

Caroline Werunga     - Programme Advisor, Electoral Governance 

 

Economic and Social Rights

Samwel Oyomo     - Programme Advisor, Accountability & Devolution

Fredrick Njehu      - Programme Advisor, Trade Justice 

Sylvia Kithinji       - Programme Advisor, Corporate Accountability 

Edward Murimi     -Programme Advisor, Labour Rights

 

Equality and Non-Discrimination

Diana Gichengo    -Programme Advisor, National Cohesion & Positive Ethnicity

Monica Kareithi    - Programme Advisor, Equality and Non-Discrimination

 

Institutional Development and Sustainability (Cross-cutting)

Roland Ebole- Programme Advisor, Human Rights Monitoring

Grace Were - Programme Advisor, Resource Center

Finance and Administration

Kasiki Mudachi  - Human Resources Manager

Kevin Nyalwal   - Finance Officer(Budgets & Grants)

Martin Wasike   - Finance Officer

Christine Okelo - Administration Officer

Irene Soila - Administrative Assistant

 

Situations Vacant- Coming Soon

Programme Advisor,Communications

Director, Finance and Adminminitration

Programme Advisor, Workers' Rights

 

Assistant Programme Officers

Catherine Kamatu   -Assistant Programme Officer, ICT and Social Media

Faith Kirui              -Assistant Programme Officer, IT

Lydia Mkanjumwa  -Assistant Officer, Procurement

 

Interns

Nine to twelve engaged every six months

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