December 10th, 2015 saw the universal commemoration of the Human Rights Day. To commemorate this day, we hosted an event at the Nailab, in conjunction with the Canadian Embassy to discuss the state of Human Rights in Kenya.
To steer this forum, we had a panel consisting of Waikwa Wanyoike of Katiba Institute, Peter Nguura- Project Manager AMREF, Stephen Ogolla who is the Program Officer, Human Rights Protection – ICJ and Alice Maranga of FIDA Kenya. Also making part of the panel was Kenneth Okoth, the MP for Kibra Constituency.
Alice Maranga shared very shocking details of how girls in Baringo are still forced to undergo barbaric acts of FGM in this day and age. She cautioned that FGM is viewed as an income generating activity by the communities that practice it and that there are parents who are willing to part with lots of money to have their girls undergo the cut.
While the fight against FGM persists, Stephen Ogolla cautioned that cultural practices are viewed with different lenses by various communities – which poses a challenge in this fight. He therefore advised the consideration of cultural relativism while trying to fight vices that infringe on human rights like FGM.
Waikwa Wanyoike decried corruption as he noted that corruption of any kind, infringes on human rights of citizens and should be fought by all, starting from the leadership. He pointed out that voters need to vet their leader’s integrity and character before voting for them. He also challenged politicians to walk the talk when it comes to the fight against corruption.
Kibra member of parliament, Kenneth Okoth shared that he made a decision not to get into business while in office as that had the capability of compromising his term in office. Honourable Okoth also cautioned against focusing too much on the girl child and forgetting the boy child, who also needs his rights protected.
Alice Maranga called onto bloggers to endeavor and blog about human rights issues citing this as the best way to tackle problems that infringe on the rights of the Kenyan citizen.
Overall, this was an insightful event that had participants learning a lot more about their rights and the role they can play as online users in upholding each other’s rights.
You can follow the discussion by going to the hashtag #HumanRightsKE on twitter. Here are sample tweets that were sent out by participants during the event:
The Constitution was meant to inspire national renewal. But this cannot be ascertained today #HumanRightsKe
— Mediatician (@oleshitemi) December 10, 2015
— ICJ Kenya (@ICJKenya) December 10, 2015
Any man who lays hands on a woman to physically assault her, is a disgrace to manhood and entire existence of mankind #HumanRightsKe
— Nguru (@njooro) December 10, 2015