Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) was founded in 1991 and registered in Kenya in 1994 as a national non-governmental organisation (NGO). Throughout its existence, the core agenda of the Commission has been campaigning for the entrenchment of a human rights and democratic culture in Kenya. Its founders and staff are among the foremost leaders and activists in struggles for human rights and democratic reforms in Kenya. KHRC works at community level with human rights networks (HURINETS) across Kenya and links community, national and international human rights concerns.
Mandate: Enhancing human rights centred governance at all levels.
Vision: Their vision is a human rights state and society.
Mission: Their mission is to foster human rights, democratic values, human dignity and social justice.
This will be achieved through multiple strategies and actions aimed at entrenching human rights and democratic values in the soceity by facilitating and supporting individuals, communities and groups to claim and defend their rights and holding state and non-state actors accountable for the protection and respect of all human rights for all peoples and groups.
-Fairness and Social Justice: Resources should be distributed equitably to the benefit of all people. State and non-state actors must shape the human rights discourse in their policies, strategies and practices to uphold fairness and social justice.
-Participation and Empowerment: State and non-state actors have an obligation to provide information and opportunities for meaningful citizens’ participation in decision making and access to resulting benefits.
-Liberty and Human Dignity: Human rights are inherent, inborn and not given by the state. Therefore, people have a right to make decisions without coercion or constraint and are accountable for their choices. All human beings are deserving of equal respect and worth and entitled to the realization of their full potential.
-Accountability and Transparency: Power and resources must be used with integrity and responsibility. It is only through accountable governance that human rights can be protected and enjoyed by all. Their own accountability to communities and other allies nationally and internationally, including donors, is key to the success of their work.
-Equal Protection and Non-discrimination: All individuals and groups are equal, should be treated with dignity and due regard must be given to their diversity. Genuine democracy can never exist in a society that does not recognize its women and men as equals and that discriminates against individuals and groups based on their race, gender, religion, creed, health status, political opinion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or any other ground.
Having played a key role as a member of the constitutional reference group in the drafting and run up to the referendum and subsequent promulgation of Constitution of Kenya 2010, they shift their focus to safeguarding the gains in this new Constitution which promises to Kenyans a new dawn. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is progressive and rights-based offering an opportunity to build a human rights state and society.
Having played a key role as a member of the constitutional reference group in the drafting and run up to the referendum and subsequent promulgation of Constitution of Kenya 2010, they shift their focus to safeguarding the gains in this new Constitution which promises to Kenyans a new dawn. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is progressive and rights-based offering an opportunity to build a human rights state and society. It introduces a devolved government thereby opening up room for greater citizen participation as well as need for greater accountability from all duty bearers at all levels.
With this shift, focus is on entrenching activities around the following four themes areas: devolution and public participation; equality and non-discrimination; security and judiciary; and progressive leadership. In this framework, Accountability, Participation and Equality and Non-discrimination are the outcomes KHRC wants to realise. Delivery on these elements would result in good governance which would cascade towards the realisation of a human rights state and society.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) was formed by five Kenyans while in exile .The five Kenyans included Prof Makau Mutua, Mr Maina Kiai, Dr Willy Mutunga, Hon Kiraitu Murungi and Prof Peter Kareithi, they formed the commission and registered it in Washington DC in 1991. One of the founders was dispatched to Kenya to operate from the offices of Kuria, Ringera and Murungi Advocates. The commission was registered in Kenya in January 1994 with a vision of securing ‘Human rights states and societies KHRC was later hosted by the Kituo cha Sheria before moving to South B Estate, and to its current location on Gitanga Road.
Between 1992 and 1997, KHRC focused on monitoring, documenting and publicizing human rights violations. It applied a direct attack on political despotism. Through direct action protests and support to victims and survivors of violations, the organisation established itself as an advocate for civil and political rights in Kenya, by linking human rights struggles with the need for reforms in political leadership and institutions.
From 1998 to 2003, KHRC expanded its advocacy strategy to include social and economic rights in order to attack economic despotism. This resulted to a radical shift in approach that led them to the commission developing capabilities of those affected by human rights problems to advocate for their rights. It invested in community-based Human Rights Education (HRE) and shifted its advocacy approach from ‘reactive, one-off’ activism to more nuanced processes, participation of those affected by specific human rights violations and targeted reforms at policy and legislative levels. The commission developed its first strategic plan for the period 199-2003.
The 2003 to 2007 Strategic Plan focused on strategies and actions aimed at enhancing community-driven human rights advocacy by building the capacities of citizens to deal with their immediate human rights concerns as well as engage in strategic actions to transform structures responsible for human rights violations.
From 2008 to 2012, KHRC expanded the impact of its work to play an active role in procuring citizen-led reforms towards a more just, democratic and human rights-respecting Kenyan society. In 2010, KHRC was key to the constitutional reform movement, which was people centred and resulted in the Constitution of Kenya (2010) one of the hallmarks of which is a strong Bill of Rights.
Between 2013-2015, KHRC in June 2013, through its work in partnership with the MAU MAU War Veterans’ Association, the British Government made a statement of regret for the torture suffered during the independence struggle in Kenya; entered into a settlement for over 5,000 victims of torture; and setting up a memorial in honour of victims of torture.See more