Highlights from the Second Amnesty International Kenya Annual Delegates Conference 2023

The Second Amnesty International Kenya Annual Delegates Conference took place at the United States International University in Nairoi County on Friday, 29 September and Saturday, 30 September 2023. The primary purpose of the Delegates Conference is to establish a new governance framework that vests supreme power in the Conference of Delegates drawn from Amnesty members and circles of conscience.

One hundred twenty-two delegates from 62 of the 68 eligible Circles of Conscience attended the 2023 ADC. The delegates represented 12 Counties, including Kisii, Kisumu, Nairobi, Homa Bay, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Tana River, Kirinyaga, Kericho, Mombasa and Kilifi. Two youth observers attended for the first time as ADC observers without voting rights to encourage youth empowerment within our movement.

Amnesty International Board Chairperson Anjhula Bais congratulated the AIK for its recent recognition as a section, emphasized good governance and advocated for an open working relationship between the Board and Management. Amnesty International Board Member Renee Ngamau also congratulated the ADC and stressed the importance of climate justice. Amnesty International United Kingdom Chief Executive Sacha Deshmukh delivered a message of solidarity from a sister section.

Delegates conducted the official business on the first day of the Conference. Delegates discussed and approved the Secretariat report, Board Chairperson report, independent finance audit report, 2024-2028 Strategic Plan report and 2024 Plan and Budget. Crowe Erastus and Co. CPA were appointed as the organization auditors for the next three years.

Elections were conducted to fill vacant positions on the Board, Preparatory and Nominations Committees. Diana Watila was elected as a member of the AIK Board, Joseph Otieno and Zachariah Benchi elected to the ADC Preparatory Committee, while Peace Nabukhili and Emily Kaari were elected to the ADC Nominations Committee. The successful candidates proceed to serve a three-year term, with a maximum of two consecutive terms in the various positions.

A resolution was passed defining the minimum age for individuals to join as an Amnesty member as 12 years and 18 years for all office bearers. Resolutions were also passed to elaborate the ways of working, accountabilities and competencies of the ADC Preparatory and Nominations Committees. Delegates ended by approving 14 and 15 August 2024 to be the dates of the third Annual Delegates Conference. Amnesty Members, guests, partners, students and Government officers attended the second day, which discussed the State of Freedoms and Rights in Kenya. The Conference was opened by USIU-Africa Interim Vice Chancellor Dr. Lola Odubekun, who expressed USIU’s pleasure in hosting the Conference. High-level representatives from Parliament, the Judiciary, the Law Society of Kenya, Partner Civil Society Organisations, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the National Commission on Administration of Justice also addressed the Conference.

Participants retreated to six skills share breakout sessions, including The right to Expression, Right to Assembly, Digital Rights, Right to Dignity, Child Rights, Leadership, and Integrity. The speakers explored the challenges facing each of these themes and listened to activist thought-leaders share their work, progress, and achievements in these areas.

Participants affirmed that protecting human rights is a shared responsibility that transcends borders and ideologies. Rights holders and duty-bearers must work together to ensure that the fundamental rights and freedoms are upheld.

As part of the Annual Write for Rights campaign, participants also signed a petition to demand justice for Eugine Muriithi, a 17-year-old student in Kanjiadhuthi Boys’ High School, Taraka Nithi, who met his death in the hands of police officers after a riot broke out in his school.

The official launch of the Amnesty International 2024-2028 Strategic Framework marked the climax and the end of the second Annual ADC. Delegates left with a renewed commitment to advance human rights throughout Kenya and the world.