Written by KHRC    Wednesday, 25 June 2014 19:05   
TORTURE: UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Torture survivors inspect the Nyayo House torture chambers that were used during the repressive Moi regime in the '80s and the '90s to suppress voices calling for democracy in the country. The torture chambers must remain preserved as part of memorialization,  which is a form of transitional justice mechanism as a record of history and to prevent the recurrence of abuse.  Torture survivors inspect the Nyayo House torture chambers that were used during the repressive Moi regime in the '80s and the '90s to suppress voices calling for democracy in the country. The torture chambers must remain preserved as part of memorialization, which is a form of transitional justice mechanism as a record of history and to prevent the recurrence of abuse.

While cases of political torture seem to have reduced in Kenya, torture while in police custody is still rampant, and mostly due to impunity. 

 

2014 THEME: FIGHTING IMPUNITY

 On June 26th every year the world marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Today the world stands in solidarity with victims of torture, to reiterate the fact that torture is a gross and cruel violation of human rights. The day is anchored in the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) that seeks Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Kenya ratified the convention in 1997.

The theme for this year’s campaign is Fighting Impunity.

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Read more... Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 June 2014 19:39 )
 
Written by KHRC    Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:34   
FORGOTTEN IN THE SCRAMBLE FOR LAMU

A Position Paper in the Case of the Aweer and Fisherfolk

KHRC's LAPPSET Position PaperKHRC's LAPPSET Position PaperA call to avert development induced poverty as is a common consequence of mammoth development projects that displace people and alter their way lives.

During the period between March, 2011 and April, 2014, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) set out on a series of fact finding missions to Lamu spanning from . This was spurred by concerns voiced throughout KHRC’s collaboration with various community based organizations in Lamu and had the sole purpose of interrogating the validity of community fears in regard to the proposed Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Project.

Lamu hosts indigenous peoples who have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In recognition of the fact that indigenous communities are predisposed to human rights violations; the fact that land rights have historically been a thorny subject even for dominant ethnic groups along Kenya’s Coast; and the fact that Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on which the Aweer and fisher folk are solely dependent for their livelihood, this Position Paper focuses on the land rights, economic, social and cultural rights of the people resident in Lamu prior to the LAPSSET Project and in particular the indigenous Aweer and fisher folk community. It raises concerns that the manner in which the LAPSSET Project is being administered will relegate host communities further into the periphery of poverty and invisibility and offers recommendations on how to urgently mitigate against this adverse yet imminent outcome.

The KHRC launched the  Forgotten In The Scramble And Petition of Lamu: The Case of the Aweer and the Fisher-folk on the 18th of June, 2014 at the Manda Island in Lamu.

The findings of this audit raise a red flag that if the LAPSSET Project proceeds in the same manner as it is being currently administered, it is unlikely to result in poverty reduction and improved livelihoods for the people that inhabited Lamu before the Project’s onset.  KHRC intends that the recommendations of this Position Paper will be applied towards ensuring that the LAPSSET Project results in inclusive growth of the Lamu community and sustainable development. To this end, the Position Paper offers recommendations on how various stakeholders may engage towards achieving the state of respect for human rights and environmental justice in implementing colossal development projects.

For these reasons the Position Paper:

  1. Recommends that the development of the oil and industrial infrastructure is not executed in a manner that displaces existing and potential livelihoods. On the contrary, it should complement, even boost local capacities for production. It further exhorts government to support host communities towards adapting to new developments without being compelled to abandon old trades. They should, in addition, be enabled to compete effectively in emerging economic activities;
  2. Recommends that historical economic marginalization of communities and persons should be addressed within its immediate and appropriate context rather than through blanket “development projects” whose impact might be to aggravate the incidence of marginalization;
  3. Argues for the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous communities in light of pressure to modernize and of their continued vulnerabilities;
  4. Argues for a comprehensive Equality and Non-Discrimination policy which also anchors questions of affirmative action, for the benefit of marginalized communities, groups and persons. It, thus, calls for the establishment of equalization models and benefits-sharing standards that seek to rebalance age-old disparities;
  5. Tests the principle of “Public Participation” with regard to the Constitutional thresholds of public involvement in government decision-making as part of the broader end of good governance and accountability. It is suggested that a minimum standard for public engagement in questions that directly affect the well-being of communities be established;
  6. Echoes calls for a well-managed, yet, timely transition into the newly established land tenure systems and structures of accountability as well as the continued regulation of the system thereafter;
  7. Argues for the expansion of grievance redress mechanisms beyond those that are presently utilized by communities, for the resolution of cases of violation of economic, social and cultural rights by State, corporate entities and development partners alike. It suggests viable avenues of grievance redress, beyond the conventional structures of accountability; and
  8. Urges the respect for human rights by the State, corporate entities and citizens alike. As such, it suggests the establishment of, among others, protective legal frameworks and the enforcement of law and policies to protect vulnerable persons and communities from the adverse effects of large scale development projects.

 Please click here to download the report. 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:54 )
 
Written by KHRC    Thursday, 22 May 2014 07:40   
Mau Mau Memorial

THE MAU MAU MEMORIAL LAUNCH

Close Up of the Memorial Statue of a Male and a Female Mau Mau. More images available in the photo gallery Close Up of the Memorial Statue of a Male and a Female Mau Mau. More images available in the photo gallery

 

NAIROBI 22 May, 2014 Members of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association inch closer towards closure on the torture under the British Colonial Government in Kenya over 60 years ago

Today marks another momentous occasion when the members of Mau Mau War Veterans Association move toward closure on torture suffered under the colonial government in Kenya. The Mau Mau Memorial entails a monument structure and two statues of the Mau Mau and is to promote reconciliation and commemorate all those who suffered on all sides during the Emergency period. Click here for more images of the memorial. 

The establishment of the memorial is a part of the settlement reached between the Mau Mau War Veterans Association (MMWVA) and the British Government announced in June 2013.The memorial constitutes a lasting expression of reconciliation.

In June 2013, the British Government made a historic statement of regret over the atrocities that that were perpetrated by the colonial government during Kenya’s Emergency period of 1952-1960. This was part of the out of court negotiations settlement wherein each of the 5,228 claimants identified as having suffered acts of torture was to be paid an ex-gratia payment of British Pounds 2,650 being Kshs. 340,000/-.  In addition, the settlement also included the construction of a memorial in Kenya in memory of Kenyan victims of the colonial era torture.

In 2003, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)was approached by the MMWVA to support victims of the colonial era torture which took place during Kenya’s Emergency period of 1952-1960. The Mau Mau War Veterans Association opted to bring individual test cases of torture against the British Government on June 23rd 2009 with five elderly Kenyans, namely Ndiku Mutua, Wambugu Nyingi, Jane Muthoni Mara, Paulo Nzili and Susan Ciong’ombe Ngondi being the lead claimants in NDIKU MUTUA AND FOUR OTHERS – V- COMMONWEALTH OFFICE HQ09X02666.

Out of the 5228 ex-gratia payments, only 87 cases of deceased clients are pending as their various next of kin are following up on succession matters.

To execute the last part of the settlement; the Mau Mau Memorial Steering Committee held a MauMau monument design competition. We got at least five entries from interested designers. The Steering Committee comprises the KHRC, MMWVA, the British High Commission, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts (through the National Museum) and the Nairobi County Governor’s office.

Experts from the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity surveyors (BORAQS) offered technical expertise towards analysing the feasibility of all the entries in terms of cost and durability.

The winning bid has been submitted to the Nairobi County for approval before construction.

The Nairobi County have offered a construction site at the freedom corner and will further meet some costs towards construction of path ways leading to the monument.

The ground breaking ceremony will be held in June before the construction begins. The MauMau war Veterans will converge there to acknowledge the memorial.

The unveiling of the monument will be done in October during Mashujaa dayscroll back to top
Last Updated ( Monday, 09 June 2014 20:22 )
 
Written by Beryl Aidi    Tuesday, 29 April 2014 07:46   
The Launch of the KHRC Strategic Plan 2014-2018

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has launched its Strategic Plan 2014-2018 under the mandate: Securing Human Rights States and Societies. 

As we launch this new strategic plan, we take a look at some facts about the KHRC. 

The Kenya Human Rights Commission was formed in exile in 1991.

What was Kenya like in 1991? Kenneth Matiba, Charles Rubia and RailaOdinga were in prison, detained without trial. Several other leading Kenyans were in exile. It was only three years after Kanu, then the only legal political party, had held nominations for Parliament using the infamous queue voting system.

  1. Five of the Kenyans in exile – Prof Makau Mutua, Mr Maina Kiai, Dr Willy Mutunga, Hon Kiraitu Murungi and Prof Peter Kareithi – formed the Kenya Human Rights Commission and registered it in Washington DC in 1991.
  2. One of the founders was despatched to Kenya to operate from the offices of Kuria, Ringera and Murungi Advocates. The KHRC was later hosted by the Kituo cha Sheria before moving to South B Estate, and to its current location on Gitanga Road in Valley Arcade.
  3. Between 1992 and 1997, the KHRC focused on monitoring, documenting and publicizing human rights violations. It applied a direct attack on political despotism. Through direct action protests and support to victims and survivors of violations, the organisation established itself as an advocate for civil and political rights in Kenya, by linking human rights struggles with the need for reforms in political leadership and institutions.
  4. From 1998 to 2003, KHRC expanded its advocacy strategy to include social and economic rights in order to attack economic despotism. We made a radical shift in approach that led us to begin developing capabilities of those affected by human rights problems to advocate for their rights. It invested in community based Human Rights Education (HRE) and shifted its advocacy approach from ‘reactive, one-off’ activism to more nuanced processes, participation of those affected by specific human rights violations and targeted reforms at policy and legislative levels.
  5. It developed its first Strategic Plan for the period 1999-2003 whose thrust was to develop competencies at community level for citizens to identify and deal with human rights violations, without depending on the previous interventionist orientation.
  6. The 2003-2007 Strategic Plan focused on strategies and actions aimed at enhancing community-driven human rights advocacy by building the capacities of citizens to deal with their immediate human rights concerns as well as engage in strategic actions to transform structures responsible for human rights violations. During this phase, it focused on rights related to trade, business, investment, natural resources, labour and sexual and reproductive health.
  7. In 2008-2012, KHRC expanded the impact of its work to play an active role in procuring citizen-led reforms towards a more just, democratic and human rights-respecting Kenyan society. With the Constitution of Kenya, 2010,KHRC sees a normative framework for the kind of society it wishes to see, but recognised that it is facing a serious threat of being sabotaged because of the ascension to power of those opposed to it.
  8. A majority of the first commissioners at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights were from KHRC. The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), established in the wake of the post-election violence of 2008,was a brainchild of KHRC. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga is a founder and former director of KHRC. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Mr Maina Kiai, is the KHRC founder director and now member of the board; while the current UN Special Rapporteur on Xenophobia, Dr Mutuma Ruteere, also worked at the KHRC.

This latest strategic plan comes at a time of transition in Kenya.  The promulgation of a new Constitution of Kenya in August 2010 ushered in a devolved governance structure, a bicameral parliament, the establishment of several constitutional commissions and institutional changes.

There is also a new political order following the March 2013 general election, the first elections held under the new constitution. The elections resulted in the ascension to power of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, both of whom are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. New electoral seats were also created by the constitution: governors and County Representatives (for County Governments), women’s representatives in the National Assembly and senators in the Senate.

The birth of a new constitution, Constitution of Kenya (2010) one of the hallmarks of which is a strong Bill of Rights, is but one of the many democratic gains that the KHRC has contributed to in the last two decades.

 KHRC has triumphed in two significant historical injustices cases:

  •  
    • KHRC identified Nyayo House torture victims, created a network for them and facilitated litigation leading to their compensation and obtained a court order to preserve Nyayo House chambers as part of national memory.
    • And In June, 2013, through its work in partnership with the MAU MAU War Veterans’ Association, the British Government made a statement of regret for the torture suffered during the independence struggle in Kenya; entered into a settlement for over 5,000 victims of torture; and setting up a memorial in honour of victims of torture.
Also in 2013 the KHRC won a case requiring the Kenyan Government to consult with citizens and small scale farmers’ organisations in negotiating economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with the EU and other stake holders.


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 April 2014 08:39 )
 
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