Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) Training

By Martin Ndichu

The training on Human Rights Based Approach was held on 26th June 2014 at Maisha Poa Centre in Kawangware. It was conducted by Consolation East Africa and was supported by Mensen met een Missie. In attendance were representatives of various institutions working in area of Governance and community organization. Institutions present were Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) based and working in the larger Nairobi County. These organizations address different community concerns including Gender Based Violence, Environmental conservation, Education, Peace and Justice among others.

In the training were government representatives, these included the Ministry of Planning and devolution, Uwezo Fund Dagorreti South and the Police Administration. For one reason or the other, some of the invited government institutions were unable to attend. The training was aimed at enhancing Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) in governance and community organization and also offer a platform for the members of the public to engage with the service providers. Millicent Agutu facilitated the introduction of the HRBA concept including the historical background of human rights and their characteristics. Bridged Faida facilitated the classification of Human Rights and Human Rights Instruments. Martin Ndichu led the participants to explore the Bill of Rights in the Kenyan Constitution while Josephat Khamasi highlighted the different commissions concerned with Human Rights and which are legislated by the parliament.

In welcoming the participants the project officer commended the gender representation which is one component provided for in the Kenyan Constitution and also a vital tenet in HRBA. She pointed out that the training would have a special focus on the Constitution as a governance instrument. She led the participants to understand the HRBA concept covering topics such the definition of HRBA, its importance and principles as well as the values of HRBA. She also explored Human rights definition, historical development, characteristics and their importance. Participants also discussed the responsibilities that come with different rights. The participants were made to understand that rights go hand in hand with responsibilities. Also noted is the fact that Human Rights have limitation and their validity may vary from one region to the other depending on the constitution, culture and practices.

Bridged Faida introduced the second session, this session dwelt on exploring the classification of Human Rights and the Human Rights Instruments. She led the participants to understand the classification of human rights which included Civic and Political Rights, Social, economic and Cultural Rights and Collective or group rights. The participants were made aware that all human rights are contained in the three categories of rights. She also led the participants to understand the Human Rights Instruments, this include the Regional and the International instruments. These instruments are also known as treaties and which are formal agreements between 2 or more states. Some of the treaties highlighted as international instruments include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1976), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR 1976).

Participants were led to understand that some treaties focus specifically on particular types of violations and these include; The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1951), the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD, 1969), The Convention Against Torture and other in human or degrading treatment or punishment (CAT 1987). Other treaties were particular groups of people such as The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (CSR, 1954), The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC 1990), The UN Declaration on Rights of Older Persons (1991), The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC, 2002), The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their families (CPRMW, 2003), The UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People (2007), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2008) and International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2010)
The participants were led to understand that we also have regional instruments or treaties that also seek to uphold human dignity. These treaties include; the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (African Charter, 1986, The African on the Rights and Welfare of the Child Charter (ACRWC, 1999), The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Human Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (African Women’s Protocol, 2005), the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (2006), the African Union Convention for Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Person in Africa (Kampala Convention, 2009) and The African Youth Charter (AYC, 2009)
The facilitator led the participants to understand that both the regional and international treaties are only applicable in those countries that are parties to them. This means that the provisions of a particular treaty are only effective in a country that has signed in agreement with the treaty. The participants were also made to understand that once a country signs such a treaty, the provisions contained herein are embraced as laws in that country and the state is required to submit reports to the supervisory committee on progress in domestic implementation of treaty obligations.

The third sessions sought to explore the fundamental rights and freedoms as outlined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Facilitated by Martin Ndichu, participants were led through the Bill of Rights that highlights the fundamental rights and freedoms. These rights and freedoms are contained in Article 29 to Article 57 of the Kenyan Constitution. It includes a definition of the rights and also defines limitations on the rights and freedoms. Participants discussed how successful the bill of rights was in terms of implementation, it emerged that some provision in the Bill of Rights were not clearly defined hence may have loop holes.

Article 59 of the constitution establishes the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission to promote respect for human rights, gender equality and promote the protection and observance of human rights in public and private institutions. The facilitator, Josephat Khamasi led the participants to understand the role of Human Rights Commission. The participants were led to understand that these commissions are established by the constitution and that the parliament is empowered to restructure the Human Rights Commission into two or more commission. Consequent to this, the parliament enacted The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Act, The National Gender and Equality Commission Act and The Commission on Administrative Justice Act as independent commissions to pursue different functions.
The participants were led to understand the functions of the different commissions and some of the accomplishment that have been made by individual commission. Though independent to each other, the participants were made aware that these commissions at some point undertake their functions together.

In earlier activities, Consolation East Africa had involved with some of the community organizations to pursue HRBA in community organizations. Representatives from these organizations were given chance to share on how they had applied HRBA in their activities. Mrs. Betty Hamud representing Westlands Peace, Gender and Development Organization reported that her organization had strived to exercise gender sensitivity in their programs. The organization has also led advocacy for protection of women from gender based violence, their efforts have seen them establish a gender violence response centre in Westlands. Their active participation has seen them receive recognition by the administration in the area.

Another beneficially of CEA trainings Mr. Timothy Odongo representing Riruta Environmental Group (REG) reported that his organization had strived to uphold the right of each individual to live in a clean environment. He emphasized on the need to conserve the environment and held that through their environmental conservation endeavors they have afforded the community a chance to live in dignity. Mr Richard Karanja of Kangemi Gender Based Violence and Peace Working Group reported that their participation and engagement with the administration Police in Kangemi area of Nairobi in addressing the issues affecting them has seen an improvement in the level of security and development.

Lillian Achieng’ a teacher at Vigil School was also a beneficiary of past activities by CEA. As a result of the lessons learnt through these activities, they have been able to adopt better management as well as humane practices in helping the children in education. For instance, as a school they have ensured that all their children enjoy their freedom of religion by setting aside time for prayers for the different religions that the children belong; these include Muslims, Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) and Christians. They have also included in their program home visits for their children who show signs of distress. This way they have maintained a close relationship with their children and parents and have also been involving them in setting the strategic plans for the school.

As part of program, there was a briefing from government representatives on the available government services. Mr. Kayaga from the Ministry of planning and Devolution and Mr. Nyaga from the Uwezo Fund Committee Ng’ando Ward briefed the participants on the services available. He pointed out the Kenya Youth Empowerment Program (KYEP) a project that is supported by World Bank and partners with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) in a bid to empower mainly the young people age 18 to 29 years by equipping them with life skills, Co-business skills and internship opportunity to increase their employability. They also pointed out other financial supports including the Youth Enterprise Fund, Women Enterprise Fund and the Uwezo fund. They went ahead to explain the requirement to receive such funds.

Participants discussed other funds that were within their knowledge, from the discussion funds such as the Cash transfer for the aged, disability fund and the street children rehabilitation funds were identified. Participants working in areas funded by these funds or requiring such funds, were encouraged to find more information on the requirement for accessing such funds by visiting/consulting with institutions that are tasked to manage these funds.

There was an expectation that this session would offer more opportunity for the public to engage with their leaders but as noted earlier most of them were not able to attend hence other sectors of the administration were unrepresented. This include the police, the Chief, the Member of the County Assembly, Member of parliament Dagorreti, the District Commissioner among others.

After the training, participants expressed gratitude in the training and encouraged that each of the individual organizations represented should strive to incorporate HRBA in their activities. They also required that the participants present share the information they got with others not present and also in their organizations. By so doing the participants expressed confidence that they would popularize the practice and have better organizations.

Participants further suggested some activities that could be carried out in future on the same area. These activities include; Organize HBRA trainings for Community Based Organizations, Self help and youth groups existing in the different areas represented by the organizations present in the training. Organize exchange visits for organization for collective learning, organize training on Children Rights in schools, convene a forum for people with disability and also organize forums that analyze the underrepresented issue to be presented to the media and leaders.

Advertisements

Image

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: