Beryl Orao, a lawyer at The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), Western Kenya Region was named the 2017 Economic and Social Rights Pro Bono Lawyer of The Year 2017 for her exemplary and outstanding contribution in advancing the course of justice in the community.

Orao was honored during the 5th annual ECOSOC Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Awards held by Amnesty International Kenya, The Law Society of Kenya (LSK), The East African Centre for Human Rights & Peace Brigade International in Nairobi on 7th December 2017 at Hilton Hotel, for her immense contribution in the area of police accountability.  Ms. Orao has trained numerous law enforcement officers working in Western Kenya on human rights in a bid to enhance their compliance with their human rights obligations under the national and international law. Further, she has engaged in litigation to secure accountability of law enforcement officials who violate human rights.

From the left Edigah Kavulavu,Beryl Orao and Allan Nyange

Edigah Kavulavu of the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) was awarded the 1st Runners Up at the award ceremony. This is because of his immense work in pro bono services In the area of police accountability, especially in informal settlements within Nairobi. In 2017,  Kavulavu spent most of his time trying to address challenges in the administration of justice in the county, more specifically, police reforms and Decriminalization of petty offences. He has also been at the forefront in championing for accountability for police excesses and prosecution of rogue police officers. He is a member of a multi-sectorial consortium.

Allan Nyange, an active FIDA Kenya pro bono lawyer, was awarded the 2nd Runners-Up Award at the auspicious event. Mr. Nyange was awarded for his resilience and commitment in taking up matters and effectively representing people in Mombasa who have been harassed and/or falsely accused by the police. His work has gone a long way in ensuring that the police are becoming more accountable for their work and conduct.

This year’s theme for the awards was “Safeguarding Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms through Improved Law Enforcement” which was informed by the fact that in the recent past, there has been the emergence of numerous cases of Extra-Judicial Killings and Police Brutality witnessed within the country which poses specific challenges to the nature of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The award ceremony takes place annually and is meant to recognize members of the Bar that have excelled in pro bono work in different aspects. The award recognizes the sacrifices they have made in advancing the course of justice.

For the last 5 years, the ECOSOC Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Awards have primarily recognized and acknowledged the outstanding contributions of individuals towards the promotion and protection of human rights and justice through pro bono services in Kenya.

Congratulations Beryl, Edigah and Allan.