Article by PBI-Canada
In June, PBI-Kenya carried out a collaborative risk baseline assessment with sixteen Social Justice Centres that identified gaps that needed to be addressed to enhance the security of human rights defenders. Then in September, PBI-Kenya discussed digital security for HRDs, including safe communication platforms and social media presence.
In their most recent e-newsletter, the Peace Brigades International-Kenya Project notes:
“PBI-Kenya carried out trainings that explicitly took into account the changing security situation for human rights defenders (HRDs).
Between March and July 2020 Defenders Coalition Kenya recorded 82 arrests of HRDs, twice as much the number recorded in 2019.
The trainings, on digital security, organizational management and conflict resolution, were facilitated by human rights defenders that were either from the social justice centres (SJCs) or close to the movement and who know first-hand about the contexts of grass-roots HRDs.
These and the periodic follow-ups have helped the SJCs to come to shared agreements on security. It also allowed for the sharing of best practices between SJCs and for frank conversations about defenders’ security.
Faith Kasina, co-convenor of the Social Justice Centres Working Group (SJCWG) and co-founder of Kayole Social Justice Centre, commented that monitoring violations of human rights and providing protection to the victims can be a challenging task, however, the trainings have helped her realize that we should never forget our own safety and mental wellbeing in the course of protecting others in need.
PBI-Kenya also carried out visits to Social Justice Centres where they followed up on the specific security situation of the centre.
The sessions are meant to listen, accompany and advice the centres’ members. This increased engagement between PBI-Kenya and the members of the SJCWG coupled with their zeal in activism will hopefully see more justice centres flourish.“
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