Kenya Human Rights Commission

Regions: Kenya

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) is a principal leading non-governmental human rights and governance institution in Africa that was founded in 1992 with a mandate of enhancing human rights centred governance at all levels. Its founders and staff are among the foremost leaders and activists in struggles for human rights and democratic reforms in Kenya and beyond. Our work is grounded on the 2014/2018 Strategic Plan whose Vision is to secure human rights states and societies. Our Mission is to foster human rights, democratic values, human dignity and social justice. We espouse a very holistic concept of human rights that straddles civil and political rights (as fundamental to political democracy); economic and social rights (as critical building blocks for social democracy); and equality and non-discrimination (both as integrated and specific interventions in programming). Our interventions are executed under four interdependent strategic objectives and thematic programmes:  Transformative Justice (TJ); Economic and Social Justice (ESJ); Political Pluralism and Diversity (PPD) and Institutional Support and Development (ISD)All apply an integrated approach, to synergise and to deliver at county, national, regional and global levels. The work on the right to Citizenship is housed in the PPD program. The KHRC applies research, policy and legislative advocacy, legal aid, networking and capacity building to help promote and further protection of the right to a nationality.

  • In line with these aspirations, since 1998, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has sought to advocate for elimination of all forms of discrimination with regard to the right to citizenship. This has been informed by various studies conducted by KHRC including: ‘In The Spirit Of Harambee’, ‘Foreigners at Home: The dilemma of citizenship in Northern Kenya’  and, most recently, ‘The Frontiers of Citizenship’ which has found that in addition to ethnic discrimination, there exists a big gender gap in accessing the right to citizenship. Both forms of discrimination have resulted in statelessness, especially among children. The UNHCR partnership with KHRC, Haki Center and the Open Society Foundation conducted an assessment of the Makonde community in Kenya.  The assessment was geared towards collecting specific and quantifiable data on all dimensions relevant to the definition of the nationality status of the Makonde population in Kenya among the different generations and to recommend avenues for regularization of nationality status and prevention of statelessness. The assessment found that most of the Makondes had lived in Kenya all their lives and 40% of the Makondes were married to Kenyan citizens by birth.
  • Currently the KHRC is leading in advocacy for legal reforms on our citizenship laws and related processes of registration, identification and issuance of related documents processes to include all citizens and reduce statelessness in the country.
  • KHRC has worked with other partners in bringing to the fore the challenges and plight of stateless persons in Kenya. That advocacy, resulted in the formation of a National taskforce on Statelessness that will advise on how to resolve statelessness in Kenya
  • KHRC holds a gender dialogue on gender discrimination in Nationality to gauge for changes in law, policy and practice
  • KHRC actively engages in legal aid on various issues touching on Citizenship