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Reviewing the Human Rights Agenda in Kenya: 3RD Universal Period Review (2020 - 2024)

Reviewing the Human Rights Agenda in Kenya: 3RD Universal Period Review (2020 - 2024)

In 2006 the United Nations General Assembly near unanimously adopted Resolution 60/251, to establish a Human Rights Council (replacing the Human Rights Commission) with the responsibility for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. One of the key mandates of the Council is to undertake a Universal Periodic Review (UPR), on the fulfilment of each States’ human rights obligations and commitments. The UPR is therefore a unique Human Rights mechanism where each of the 194 UN Members States are peer-reviewed and examined on their entire human rights record every five years regardless of its size or political influence, under the same rules and supervision. States are required to respond not only to all recommendations made by its peers, but also to provide data on the implementation of recommendations it has previously accepted, including voluntary commitments.

Kenya is up for review in 2020 and to prepare itself, a number of stakeholder engagements including with civil society organizations are critical in ensuring that Kenya’s report reflects the true position by all actors in the human rights field. Thus, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and other stakeholders participated in the Inception of the 3rd UPR Cycle and Capacity Building Workshop organized by the Kenya Stakeholders Coalition on the UPR.

The workshop which took place on the 26th of March, 2019, was aimed at creating a deeper understanding of Human rights and their relation to the UPR. The Kenya National Commission on Human rights has been actively engaged in the UPR process and has been very influential in coordinating the Kenya Stakeholders Coalition on the UPR which is the main body for CSO participation in the UPR process.

In the upcoming the 3rd cycle, Civil Society Institutions and KNCHR as the National Human Rights Institution in Kenya are expected to submit their reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council by the month of June, 2019 while government has to submit its report in November, 2019. The Kenya Stakeholders Coalition on the UPR therefore has to put efforts towards the completion and submission of the report before the deadline.

During the recent inception meeting, thematic and sub-thematic groups were formed to enable the stakeholders address a number of issues from the Civil and political rights to the Economic, Social and Cultural rights, special interest groups such as children, women, refugees and asylum seekers, sexual and gender minorities. It has also been noted that there are emerging issues such as rights of older persons, human rights, peace building and conflict prevention, reproductive rights among others.

Stakeholders hope to come up with an evidence based report that will be critical in ensuring successful advocacy for the government to accept all the recommendations made by the stakeholders.

The members of the coalition have the duty to ensure sustainability of the monitoring and Implementation of the UPR and other human rights recommendations and obligations.

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