The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) is taking an active role in HRD protection. Until now, the Commission has run a small-scale programme, investigating cases and liaising with sources of threat, duty-bearing authorities and the local HRD protection stakeholders (i.e. the National Coalition of HRDs – NCHRD-K – and international NGOs).

The KNCHR has embarked on a project aiming to propose the adoption of a national public policy on HRD protection for Kenya. Substantial work remains to be done, particularly in analysing lessons learned in other countries, as well as engaging with concerned stakeholders (i.e. CSOs, Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, police and security forces and the international community represented in Kenya).

Civil society initiative for the protection of journalists in Kenya

On 18 August 2014 the Kenya Media Working Group, which involves journalists and media owners from all over the country, launched a protocol for the protection of journalists and a safety guide in English and Swahili.[1] Without downplaying the obligation of state authorities to protect the rights and integrity of journalists, the national protocol includes a 10-point Charter for Media Owners and Managers, committing them to a number of guidelines intended to make the working environment of journalists safer than is currently the case. The protocol also establishes the framework for the safety guide: a living manual intended to provide journalists and media houses with useful tips and tools for improving their protection and security in their day-to-day operations.

Safety guide protocol for the protection of journalists in English and Swahili

PI in Kenya

PI Kenya has engaged with the KNHRC on the ongoing reflections that it is hoped will result in proposals for a national public policy for the protection of HRDs. PI has shared its experience and lessons learned from countries where implementation of public policies is already under way. For this purpose, a PI Kenya representative visited Mexico in early 2014. The Kenyan Commission also wants to actively involve local civil society in the process, including the Protection Working Group, of which PI Kenya forms a part.

Furthermore, as part of the Media Working Group, PI Kenya played a substantial role in the discussions that led to the publication of the protocol for the protection of journalists and the safety guide (see box above).



[1] Kenya Media Working Group. “Staying Safe. A Protection Guide for Journalists in Kenya”. August 2014. (Available in English and Swahili).


 

***This information originates from PI’s publication – FOCUS 2014.