PBI-Kenya accompanies human rights defenders in Nairobi’s informal settlements
The Peace Brigades International-Kenya Project accompanies human rights defenders in Nairobi’s informal urban settlements.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has highlighted, “Living conditions are shocking and intolerable [in these settlements]. Residents often live without water and sanitation and are in constant fear of eviction.”
Our Annual Review notes that in 2018, “Four international volunteers accompanied members of two grassroots organisations and twenty-nine human rights defenders working in the Nairobi’s urban settlements and the Mount Kenya region.”
Nairobi’s informal settlements include Mathare, Kibera and Dandora. A crucial issue in these settlements is the extrajudicial (police) killings of young people.
France 24 recently reported, “After appeals to the police from victims’ families went largely unheeded, activists formed justice centres … in order to document the executions and report them to human rights organisations.”
PBI-Kenya works with the Mathare Social Justice Centre (MSJC).
The MSJC report Who Is Next? A Participatory Action Research Report Against the Normalization of Extrajudicial Executions in Mathare (May 30, 2017) reported that the police killed 803 young people in Mathare between 2013 and 2015.
Now, Human Rights Watch reports, “In 2018 alone, Kenyan human rights groups documented at least 267 cases of extrajudicial killings by police.”
That report also found that in 2018 and 2019 police shot dead at least 21 people in Nairobi’s Dandora and Mathare neighbourhoods.
And on August 6, The Guardian posted this 12-minute video with the caption, “Promising student Carilton Maina was shot by the police in Nairobi.”
It adds, “As part of The Guardian‘s special focus on Kibera, we met residents of Africa’s largest slum to explore their deep distrust of the police and find out what Maina’s, and other recent deaths, can tell us about the dramatic rise in extrajudicial killings across Kenya.”
To respond to this issue, PBI-Kenya together with the MSJC, the Ghetto Foundation and Saferworld began a two-year project in April 2018 titled Ushirikiano Mwema kwa Usalama (Good relationships for safety) to tackle the normalization of extrajudicial killings in the Nairobi constituencies of Mathare, Kamukunji and Embakasi North.
PBI-Kenya has also joined with other groups to create an online platform called Missing Voices, with the aim of providing facts and figures around extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and contributing to increased visibility for these issues.
And PBI-Kenya developed a Toolkit for WHRDs in Nairobi’s Urban Settlements.
As noted on its website, “The purpose of this Toolkit, is to provide WHRDs [women human rights defenders] in Nairobi’s urban settlements, and those in similar environments, with knowledge, information and relevant tools useful for improving their understanding on security and protection.”
PBI-Kenya has also partnered with Indigenous communities that have experienced historical forced displacement and are struggling to gain access to their ancestral lands, and refugees who have been forced into exile for defending human rights in their home countries and who continue their struggle for human rights while exiled in Kenya.
You can follow the work of PBI-Kenya via its Facebook page.