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To facilitate regular interaction and networking between different civic actors through the platform generally and through specific thematic forums.

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To keep civic actors updated on emerging issues on the civic space across the sub-region.

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To regularly monitor trends on civic space in the sub-region and highlight emerging issues impacting on the civic space in a bid to provide civic actors with a vital resource of timely, credible and contextual information.

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To keep members abreast of civic space initiatives led by, or coordinated by civic actors and their networks in the sub-region.

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To provide an opportunity for civic actors to reflect on the impact of key developments on civic space in the sub region and to engage in joint planning and strategy setting in response to the shrinking civic space.

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BURNING OF 28 SENGWER HOMES IN EMBOBUT FOREST, ELGEYO MARAKWET

On 10 July 2020, 28 homes were burnt in Kapkok Glade leaving families with no shelter. The Kenyan Constitution and the 2012 Land Act prohibit such forced evictions. We condemn these actions in the Embobut forest and call for adherence to the Constitution.

On May 11,2020, the President through Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i issued a moratorium on forced evictions during the pandemic.

On 13th July eight human rights and conservation organizations  issued out joint statement raising their  concern and condemning the   BURNING OF 28 SENGWER HOMES IN EMBOBUT FOREST, ELGEYO MARAKWET.

The eight organisation calls on the Government of Kenya to immediately:

  • Make a Ministerial Statement to halt the KFS operation and forced evictionsin Embobut Forest;
  • Adhere to theConstitution, the Land Actand thePresidential declaration of a moratorium on evictions for the period of COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Ensurethat all those affected canlive peacefully in the forest glades, no further retaliation happens to Sengwer community membersand that those responsible are brought to justice;
  • Provide shelter and basic needs for the affected families.

DOWNLOAD FULL STATEMENT HERE

 

On 10 July 2020, 28 homes were burnt in Kapkok Glade leaving families with no shelter. The Kenyan Constitution and the 2012 Land Act prohibit such forced evictions. We condemn […]

Continue reading "BURNING OF 28 SENGWER HOMES IN EMBOBUT FOREST, ELGEYO MARAKWET"

Pain and Pandemic: Unmasking the State of Human Rights in Kenya in Containment of the COVID -19 Pandemic

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), on 30th June 2020, released a report titled Pain and Pandemic: Unmasking the State of Human Rights in Kenya in Containment of the COVID -19 Pandemic. The report, which captures the results of KNCHR’s monitoring efforts during this COVID-19 period, revealed that loss of life, inhuman and degrading treatment and cases of torture were witnessed during the monitoring period as measures were being taken to contain the spread of the virus. (See more on the report here)

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), on 30th June 2020, released a report titled Pain and Pandemic: Unmasking the State of Human Rights in Kenya in Containment of […]

Continue reading "Pain and Pandemic: Unmasking the State of Human Rights in Kenya in Containment of the COVID -19 Pandemic"

REGIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY JOINT STATEMENT ON THE ONSLAUGHT OF CIVIC SPACE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE IN EAST AFRICA

 We, the undersigned representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) operating within the East African Community and operating under the East African Community (EAC) Consultative Dialogue Framework (CDF) met through a webinar on 19th June 2020, convened by EACSOF Kenya Chapter, to discuss continued threats to civic space due to restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The discussion was prompted by the growing need to foster a more coordinated regional approach to address the severe threats to civic space in the EAC region.

We wish to commend the EAC partner states for taking actions to control the spread of Covid-19. We are aware, however, that various challenges have undermined efforts to have a collective approach to the pandemic. We, nonetheless, congratulate governments in the region for taking the pandemic as a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of their citizens.

State of civil society amidst COVID-19

The lack of a collective approach based on similar standards has meant that reactions to Covid-19 are largely in line with domestic governance conditions. In countries where civic space was already severely threatened, the directives have tended to be more severe. In such situations, Covid-19 restrictions have merely added to the factors that deny citizens their essential freedoms such as freedom to assemble, freedom to associate, etc.

We note further the rights to information and the freedom of expression have been threatened across the board. In their efforts to control the spread of disinformation, governments have targeted and undermined these rights. Human rights activists and social media influencers are among those who have experienced threats from the authorities due to the information shared on their social media platforms, mainly challenging the government to account for the use of funds. The media and journalists, already under severe constraints in several countries, have faced increasing challenges including threats to suspend licenses and harassment of individual journalists in the course of duty. There has been a surge in cases of police brutality in the process of enforcing restrictions thus undermining ongoing police reforms.

Even though we acknowledge the importance of necessary measures to control Covid-19, the widespread abuses of human rights especially by security forces, have undermined citizens’ faith in what governments are doing to control the spread of the virus. In several cases, this has led to demonstrations, which in turn has created conditions for further spread of the virus. We, therefore, agree with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ rights and other human rights bodies across the world, which have emphasized that restrictions must be lawful and reasonable.

Given the above, and the need to continue building a prosperous Africa through continental and regional integration, we recommend the following to the governments of the six EAC partner states:

  1. That there is a need to recognize and harness the leadership, mobilization and educational potential inherent in the civil society so that a more effective partnership approach is engendered in response to Covid-19;
  2. Take immediate action to eliminate Extra-Judicial Killings (EJK) as well as other human rights abuses by security officials in charge of enforcing restrictions. Where such abuses have occurred, responsible state institutions must move with speed to investigate and bring to book those responsible. The state must also provide support to victims of such abuses;
  3. That there is a need to continue working towards a collective approach to control of Covid-19 by the EAC partner states. This is partly necessitated by the need to handle practical challenges being currently experienced in the region such as the issue of truckers and movement of goods;
  4. The collective approach envisioned above must be human rights friendly in line with the East African Community Treaty, which under “Establishment and Principles of the Community” (Chapter Two) emphasizes “adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice”;
  5. Observe the principles of accountability and transparency in all processes related to control of Covid-19. This includes procurement processes through which countries are sourcing material supplies for purposes of dealing with the pandemic. Partner States must, at all costs, mitigate against rent-seeking, profiteering and other forms of corruption;
  6. Support community healthcare systems (such as Community Health Workers) as the first lines of defense in controlling the spread of COVID-19 due to their role in sensitization, supporting vulnerable communities at the village level, and in urban informal settlements. We note, for example, that community health workers and level one facilities require the provision of adequate protective gear, testing kits, and other materials; and
  7. We support partner states call for debt relief to focus more resources on Covid-19. However, this does not preclude the need to bring to account those responsible for the accumulation of odious debts and large-scale looting.

In solidarity with the East African Community, partner states and Civil Society Organizations in East Africa Region.

          

The statement is endorsed by

  1. The East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF)
  2. The East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF) Kenya Chapter
  3. Tanzania Association of NGOs (TANGO)
  4. Defenders Coalition Kenya
  5. Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Association (DENIVA)
  6. The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-U)
  7. Rwanda Women’s Network
  8. Rwanda Civil Society Platform (RCSP)
  9. Burundi Journalists Union
  10. Forum pour la Conscience et le Development (FOCODE)
  11. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO),
  12. Freedom House, Tanzania
  13. Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG)
  14. Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU)

 

ABOUT EACSOF KENYA CHAPTER

The East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF) Kenya Chapter is a membership Non-Governmental Organization founded in 2013. It is the Kenyan Chapter of EACSOF, which is based in Arusha and whose mission is to provide a platform and catalyze a critical mass of organized civil society to engage in need-driven, people-centered East Africa integration and cooperation process effectively and proactively for equitable and sustainable development. EACSOF Kenya hosts the Protection of Civic Space in East Africa Platform (PCSEAP) which regularly assess, monitors and documents civic space trends and facilitates continued learning, sharing of best practices and innovative strategies for CSOs in East Africa.

 

E-mail: eacsofke@gmail.com

Website: http://www.eacsofkenya.org/

 

Download Joint Statement

 

 We, the undersigned representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) operating within the East African Community and operating under the East African Community (EAC) Consultative Dialogue Framework (CDF) met through a […]

Continue reading "REGIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY JOINT STATEMENT ON THE ONSLAUGHT OF CIVIC SPACE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESPONSE IN EAST AFRICA"

President Uhuru Kenyatta lifts Covid-19 restrictions

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced phased reopening of the country as the government moved to relax Covid-19 restrictions.

The president said cessation of movement into and out of the capital Nairobi, and Mombasa and Mandera counties would lapse on Tuesday 4am, allowing people to travel into and out of these counties. He, however, extended the nationwide 9pm-4am curfew for 30 days.

“By reopening Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera, we are more at risk than we were when the restrictions were in place.  We must, therefore, exercise cautious optimism, and avoid reckless abandon,” said Mr Kenyatta, who promised to have the orders reviewed should the virus spread widely.

“Should the situation deteriorate and pose a challenge to our health infrastructure, it shall be ‘clawed back’.”

In the next 21 days, the country will study patterns of interactions and the spread of the disease.

“Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to the lockdown,” the president said.

He cautioned that the country had not met minimum requirements to reopen the economy.

“According to the experts and stakeholders, we have not met the irreducible minimum 100 per cent. However, consensus amongst them is that we have reached a reasonable level of preparedness across the country to allow us to reopen,” Mr Kenyatta added.

WORSHIP

The president also allowed reopening of places of worship, restricting them to one-hour services and no more than 100 people at a time. Places of worship will be required to strictly adhere to safety protocols in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Sunday Schools and Madrassas will, however, remain closed.

No congregants under 13 years or over 58 years should be allowed in places of worship, Mr Kenyatta added. Those with underlying health conditions have also been cautioned against congregating to worship.

He asked Kenyans to continue adhering to Covid-19 safety measures to prevent spread of the disease.

“It is your duty and good will to defend and protect yourself and family and environment…Minimise unnecessary movements, delay upcountry travel, adhere to protocols,” he added.

He also urged citizens to minimise unnecessary contact with the elderly, children and those vulnerable to the virus.

The president further said that the Ministry of Education shall jointly with all stakeholders notify the public on the resumption of the 2020 Academic Calendar for basic education and tertiary institutions, by Tuesday.

FLIGHTS

The president also announced changes in transportation protocols, saying that public service vehicles moving in and out of areas which were previously under cessation of movement will require mandatory certification from the Ministry of Health in consultation with the Ministry of Transport.

Local flights will resume on July 15, 2020 in strict conformity with guidelines and protocols issued by the Health ministry.

“International Air Travel into and out of the territory of the Republic of Kenya shall resume effective 1st August, 2020; in strict conformity with all protocols from the Ministry of Health, local and international civil aviation authorities, and any additional requirements applicable at the ports of departure, arrival or transit,” he added.

CAMPAIGNS

However, politicians keen to carry out campaigns for 2022 were not so lucky. Restrictions on political gatherings and any other gathering were extended by another 30 days.

Further, the President extended the restriction on the reopening of bars as well as wedding and funeral attendance.

Mr Kenyatta also directed the ministries of Health and Trade to establish protocols before the resumption of importation of second-hand clothes and shoes.

SOURCE

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced phased reopening of the country as the government moved to relax Covid-19 restrictions. The president said cessation of movement into and out of […]

Continue reading "President Uhuru Kenyatta lifts Covid-19 restrictions"

Report flags Kenya as a hotspot for human trafficking

A new US report on global human trafficking trends has put Kenya in the list of countries with the worst human trafficking problems in the world.

The Trafficking in Persons Report 2020 report says traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Kenya and exploit victims.

“Within the country, traffickers exploit children through forced labour in domestic service, agriculture, fishing, cattle herding, street vending, and begging,” says the report.

It was released on Wednesday in Washington at a ceremony attended by US President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The report’s findings say traffickers in Kenya exploit girls and boys in commercial sex, including sex tourism on the Coast, Nairobi and Kisumu, particularly in informal settlements, noting that family members facilitate the exploitation. Traffickers also exploit teenage boys from nomadic tribes into cattle rustling, it said.

Children are also exploited in sex trafficking by people working in khat (miraa) cultivation areas and near gold mines in western Kenya, truck drivers on highways, and fishermen on Lake Victoria.

NGOs reported that internally displaced persons, particularly those who live close to a major highway or local trading centre, are more vulnerable to trafficking than persons in settled communities.

The report says Kenyans are recruited by legal or illegal employment agencies or voluntarily migrate to Europe, Northern Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East — particularly Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, and Oman.

They go to such locations in search of employment but in some cases are exploited in massage parlours and brothels or in forced into manual labour or domestic service.

Nairobi-based labour recruiters maintain networks in Uganda and Ethiopia that hire Rwandan, Ethiopian, and Ugandan workers through fraudulent offers of employment.

SOURCE

A new US report on global human trafficking trends has put Kenya in the list of countries with the worst human trafficking problems in the world. The Trafficking in Persons […]

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