From October 24, the Observatory for the Protection of HRDs, a partnership of OMCT and FIDH, conducted a four-days fact-finding mission on the situation of HRDs in Kenya within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu.
The Observatory, particularly concerned by the high levels of police violence against HRDs and the attempts of restricting their space of work, decided to carry out an International Fact-Finding Mission in Kenya with the objective of verifying in situ the situation of human rights defenders in the country, raising international attention on their situation and contributing to their protection and the improvement of an enabling environment for civil society in Kenya. More particularly, the mission focused on the analysis of the high levels of police violence against defenders working on accountability and the rule of law, as well as against peaceful demonstrators, especially during election periods such as the one Kenya is living at the moment. Another important focus was the legal path of the 2013 Public Benefit Organisations Act a new NGO law which, once enacted, will repeal the 1990 NGO Coordination Act, the NGO legislation currently regulating the civil society sector that is clearly out-dated. The Mission touched also upon the recent attempts to shrink the space of civil society through administrative sanctions as well as through criminalization within the anti-terrorism legal framework.