| |

KNCHR maps Human Rights Defenders in North Eastern Region

KNCHR staff and Garissa human rights defenders during the HRDs mapping exercise and capacity building session held in Garissa in May 2019. KNCHR team was led by KNCHR’s NERO officer Ibrahim Kassim and Hassan Abdi of Public Education and Training Division (Photo Courtesy: KNCHR 2019)

KNCHR maps Human Rights Defenders in North Eastern Region

By: Dominic Kabiru

Human rights defenders have been identified as a critical cog in the enhancement of the human rights discourse in Kenya. There is now a deliberate effort by KNCHR to map out and identify human rights workers who exhibit the tenets of dedicated and true human rights defenders.

Thus, the Commission is currently engaged in bringing together human rights defenders who work in Garissa County and the larger North Eastern region, in a bid to enhance the promotion and protection of their rights. This targeted focus on human rights defenders in northern region is informed by the fact that they work in an environment riddled by obstacles placed by both state and non-state agents and in some cases the communities within which they work.

The mapping exercise which is being undertaken by KNCHR’s North Eastern region office, seeks to re-assess the existing data base of human rights defenders in Northern Kenya and ultimately develop intervention measures for their protection. The KNCHR North Eastern region office is centralized in Wajir.

The initial meeting between the KNCHR North Eastern office and human rights defenders based in Garissa was held in early May 2019 in Garissa Township and brought together a total of twenty five human rights defenders. In the past, KNCHR engagement with human rights defenders in North Eastern region has effectively supported in the delivery of its mandate.

The meeting brought to the fore the challenges the human rights defenders face in the course of their work such as; threats and intimidation by the security agencies, personal security, corruption incidences that make accountability an uphill task, lack of resources to facilitate their work and lack of normative framework for their protection.

The human rights defenders resolved that in order to overcome the identified gaps and challenges there is need for concerted efforts amongst various government agencies, KNCHR, and relevant duty bearers. The participants called for the enhancement of the fight against corruption, effective community awareness, formation of dialogue platforms and improvement of the working relationship between the human rights defenders and the Judiciary.

The human rights defenders also called for an identification process to be initiated that will lead to the use of HRDS badges. Community structures such; as voluntary children officers, voluntary probation officers and peace committees were identified as ideal mechanisms for information sharing especially at the grass root and lowest administrative level and as such there is need to support their formation.

In the recent past KNCHR efforts of mapping human rights defenders, while enhancing their capacity building and training, has also been undertaken in Kisii and Kajiado Counties.

Rate this article:
blog comments powered by Disqus