> PBI Kenya
“I am not safe, and those I am defending are not safe”
Woman HRD from the urban settlements of Nairobi
Kenyan human rights defenders (HRDs) face numerous challenges and threats, particularly if they work in informal settlements and rural areas, or if they work on sensitive topics such as land rights, corruption and violations by the police. HRDs working on these issues can find themselves being followed, threatened and/or attacked. The criminalisation of human rights defenders is also a concern as they are frequently arrested on false charges while carrying out their human rights work.
Women human rights defenders face additional risks of stigmatisation, sexual assault and rape because of their human rights work. Threats to women HRDs are not always seen as related to their human rights work and at times they are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts.
In Kenya there are some protection mechanisms already in place, but various protection organisations and embassies, as well as the HRDs themselves, have emphasised that PBI’s integrated approach of protective accompaniment adds value and is complementary to existing protection tools. PBI's method of having international volunteers on the ground offers global solidarity and access to world-wide networks that are of utmost importance for the work and protection of HRDs. While emergency response solutions exist for HRDs in cases of threats, PBI’s preventative approach adds an additional layer of protection. PBI’s involvement allows HRDs to continue their work and to focus on managing and potentially mitigating threats they receive.
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