This special AmnestyKEAt10 newsletter celebrates the contribution and resilience of students, workers, journalists, business owners, lawyers, doctors, our members, supporters, staff and Board and Kenyans from all walks of life who have stood with us over the past decade. Through their support, we have contributed to the expansion of constitutionalism and freedoms, backed the brave, touched lives, and made change possible in Kenya. We tell that story HERE. Relax and read all we got up to on our tenth anniversary in October
In this issue
- Ten Freedom and Legal Empowerment Clinics
- Lighting the Amnesty candle to mark our 10th anniversary
- Digital Rights Training
- Inaugural Annual Delegates Conference
- Remembering Comrade Kennedy Awino RIP
- Staff movements
- Statements Issued in October
- What to look forward to
Ten Freedom and Legal Empowerment Clinics
With the Law Society of Kenya and the Paralegal Society of Kenya, we organised ten legal empowerment and freedom clinics across nine counties on the 10th and 12th of October. Sixty volunteer paralegals, pro-bono lawyers and human rights defenders directly engaged over 500 Kenyans in Bungoma, Kilifi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Garissa, Siaya and Nairobi counties.
Surveying our clients, we learned accessing justice is costly for most in terms of time and money. Further;
- 88 per cent had an average monthly income of Kshs 15,000.
- 33 per cent had interacted with courts to resolve civil matters.
- 36 per cent have been unable to access legal counsel due to cost. For those that have, filing cases costed Kshs. 1,000 – 20,000.
- Only 10 per cent of the clients have heard of the National Legal Aid Services and Fund.
- A staggering 66 per cent still feel uncomfortable before our courts
- 90 per cent of clients with court cases indicate they have had matters in court for more than 5 years.
The Government must invest more in legal aid services and access to justice. At the last of the clinics, we presented a memorandum to the Deputy Chief Justice and other state agencies responsible for administering justice. Click here to read the memorandum.
Reflection from a beneficiary of the legal and freedom empowerment.
A decade of lighting the Candle
Three decades ago, a group of Kenyans came together and made a conscious decision that Amnesty International should establish a national office in Kenya. They started by running two campaigns on an end to sexual and gender-based violence and forced evictions. These two campaigns created the basis for a national office in Kenya which was registered as a non-governmental organisation on 18 October 2012. This was the beginning of the Amnesty International Kenya we know today.
To mark the decade and close the Freedom and Legal Empowerment Clinics, we invited Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Roseline Odede, Nairobi Governor Arthur Sakaja, Acting Police Inspector General Noor Gabow and Independent Policing Oversight Authority Chairperson to publicly receive our Access to Justice Memorandum. The Deputy Chief Justice commended Amnesty
Kenya for a decade of mobilising and campaigning for human rights. She also highlighted synergies between Amnesty’s work and the Judiciary’s social transformation agender, through access to justice.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji expressed his gratitude, stating that Amnesty Kenya had taken the front seat in protecting and promoting human rights, at times at personal risk. He committed to dropping all charges against public interest activists unlawfully arrested for exercising their lawful right to protest.
Digital Rights Awareness
48 children’s rights civil society organisations attended a children’s digital rights awareness training organised by Amnesty International and Watoto Watch Network. Participants gained insights into the power of digital technology and the risks associated with cyberbullying, harassment, hate speech and polarisation. 20 organisations that participated in the training signed up to join the RIGHTS Click Alliance KE, a space where civil society organisations can support each other on research and campaigning.
We are also excited to announce that our Digital Disruptors have designed a Misuse of Personal Data campaign. The campaign aims at raising awareness of all aspects of personal data misuse. We look forward to seeing this youth-led campaign take off.
Are you or your family members 13 to 24 years old and use Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or any other social media platform? If so, we would love to hear from you or them. Please complete our Rights Click Survey. Your answers will be completely confidential and anonymous and could help make these social media spaces safe for children and young people.
Inaugural Annual Delegates Conference, 28-29th October
28-29th October 2022 will go down in history as two of the best days of the year. Over 80 delegates from our Circles of Conscience debated and passed a new Constitution, and Governance Manual, appreciated the secretariat and board report and elected four new Board members. In the words of newly appointed Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Dr. Korir Sing’oei who spoke at the event; “This Annual Delegates Conference is an indication to me that Amnesty International Kenya is an organisation that gets its legitimacy from its Kenyan members.”
A detailed communication on the Annual Delegates Conference will be shared soon.
Remembering Kennedy Awino: Rest in Power Comrade
On behalf of Amnesty Kenya members, Board and staff, we relay our heartfelt condolence to the family and friends of comrade Kennedy Awino. Until his brutal death, Ken was the convenor of the Rarieda Social Justice Centre. The Rarieda community and national movement have lost a key leader. He will be remembered for courageously pushing for social and economic rights, expanding civic space, community organising and police accountability. We repeat our call for swift investigation, arrests, and prosecution of those behind his criminal murder.
We sadly said goodbye to two staff members who left for more senior responsibilities last month. Our Communications and Membership Officer Beverly Wakiaga has moved to Oxfam GB to serve as the Digital Communications Manager. Our Inequalities and Discrimination Campaign Manager Diana Gichengo was appointed the National Coordinator of The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA). We are excited to see them rise the corporate ladder and wish them the best of luck and invite them to keep their membership up-to date.
Following an internally competitive recruitment, Zaina Kombo has been appointed the Inequalities and Discrimination Campaign Manager effective November. We are also excited to announce that Freedoms and Citizenship Campaign Manager Demas Kiprono has returned to his station after a one-year sabbatical to complete his Masters at the University of Birmingham under the Chevening Scholarship programme.
Statements Issued in October
- Don’t Criminalise Journalism
- Ten Freedom and Legal Empowerment Clinics for Huduma Day
- A Cry for Investment in Legal Aid Services and Access to Justice
- Investigate Historic Extra-Judicial Killings Following the Disbandment of DCI Special Service Unit
- Investigate Pangani Police Station over Arshad Sharif Killing
What to Look Forward to?
- Amnesty Freedom Concert – 10th December 2022