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REMARKS BY THE KENYA NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS CHAIRPERSON – ROSELINE ODEDE DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE REFUGEES AND HOST COMMUNINIOTIES PROJECT

HAKI NA USHIRIKIANO: “Advancing Refugees & Host Communities Rights”

REMARKS BY THE KENYA NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS CHAIRPERSON – ROSELINE ODEDE DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE REFUGEES AND HOST COMMUNINIOTIES PROJECT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has had a long, warm and productive partnership with the Royal Netherlands Embassy since its establishment. The embassy has been a key partner specifically supporting all the KNCHR Strategic Plans over time. As a testament to this continued partnership, the Commission currently has an ongoing cooperation agreement with the Royal Netherlands Embassy on the implementation of a Project on “Enhanced Access to Justice, Rule of Law and Accountability for Human Rights Violations.” The four-year partnership commenced from 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2023 and has since received an extension up to 30th June 2025 with additional resources. This support was specific to supporting the KNCHR Strategic Objective 3 of the just ended KNCHR’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. This extended support will still be relevant to the new KNCHR Strategic Plan of 2023 – 2028 which also focusses on “appropriate redress, accountability for human rights violations and respect for the rule of law”

Ladies and Gentlemen:
The ongoing cooperation agreement between the Commission and the Royal Netherlands Embassy has had great impact in the KNCHR work with visible results that includes among others; resolving human rights violations through Public Interest Litigation, establishing a consortium of pro-bono lawyers, conducting trial observation and targeted court observations, conducting stakeholder engagement meetings, collaborating and engaging with justice systems to mainstream Human Rights Based Approach in delivering of justice, training of justice actors on Human Rights Based Approach and access to justice with special focus on Gender, Persons with Disabilities and Marginalized Groups issues among other areas. The positive lessons leant from the ongoing cooperation shall be utilized in the implementation of the project on the promotion and protection of rights of refugees, asylum seekers and host communities in Kenya.

The programming on protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for refugees and host communities in Kenya is very historic for the Commission. While the KNCHR has traditionally programmed on the promotion and protection of the rights of the refuges through public interest litigation, investigation of rights violation, advocacy on their Economic Social and Cultural (ECOSOC) rights among others, the Commission has never received a dedicated support from any development partner on rights promotion and protection of refugees and host communities. This support from Royal Netherlands Embassy is the first in the history of KNCHR. It is also historic because the Commission gets to be supported by a very resourceful partner, the Refugees Consortium of Kenya (RCK), on matters of promotion and protection of the rights of refugees and host communities and thus provides us with immense benefits for better results.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
At the Commission, we hold the view that National Human Rights Institutions involvement in the promotion and protection of the rights of refuges and host communities is at the heart of our work as both have inherent human rights that must be respected, promoted and protected. National Human Rights Institutions involvement ensures that these rights are upheld, regardless of the legal status or origin of individuals. This includes all the rights as provided for in our very own Kenyan Constitution as well as in line with our international obligations that guides the refugees operations within the Country. The proposed activities as outlined in the approved project document speaks to various interventions which focusses on identified problems that will attempt to provide the necessary solutions in line with the various human rights principles. The proposed interventions will focus on among others, legal support, human rights investigations, rapid responses to violations, international commitments and raising awareness among others. These activities have been developed, negotiated, reviewed and agreed upon by the implementing partners ( The KNCHR & RCK ) and will serve as important pathways for the promotion & protection of the rights of refuges and host communities.
As we undertake the implementation of this project and in line with our constitutional and statutory mandate, we undertake to among others:

1. Advocate for policies that ensure fair treatment and equal opportunities for both refugees and host communities,
2. Carry out advocacy for provision of better support and services,
3. Hold government agencies and other relevant stakeholders accountable for any human rights violations or shortcomings in providing for refugees and host communities for better governance,
4. Carry out policy advocacy that will contribute to the development of comprehensive and rights-based policies that promote integration, social cohesion and protection, facilitate dialogue and understanding between refugees and host communities to promote peaceful coexistence and the reduction of tensions,
5. Carry out awareness to foster empathy and a more positive perception of refugees within the host community and ensure that there is state commitment to its various international obligations.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
The successful implementation of this project calls for close partnership and collaboration with partners in this space including State agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Faith Based Organizations, grassroots Human Rights Defenders, Development Partners among others.
It is thus a great honour to have your presence today and we look forward to positive collaboration with you on different aspects of this project for better promotion and protection of rights of refugees, asylum seekers and the host communities in Kenya.
Finally, with your support, I give you my institutional commitment to delivering to the best of our ability in the implementation of this project and in fulfilling the project overall goal of enhanced protection, promotion, and realization of human rights and fundamental freedom of the refugees and host communities in Kenya.

Thank you all

Signed:

Roseline Odede, HSC
Chairperson
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

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