Success Stories-Kodiaga Prison Justice Centre

KODIAGA PRISON JUSTICE CENTER- KISUMU

Article 48 of the Constitution of Kenya specifically advocates for access to justice for all. Kituo Cha Sheria has established Prison Justice Centres that are managed and run by trained prison paralegals to assist them self-represent in court, offer legal advice to the other inmates, educating them on criminal law and guiding them on how to confidently represent themselves in Court and empower the entire prison community. Kituo has played a big role in supervising these centres and providing technical assistance in legal matters that need the attention of an advocate. To date, Kituo has established Prison Justice Centres at Shimo La Tewa Men & Women Prisons, Lang’ata Women’s Prison, Kamiti Maximum Prison, Kodiaga, Nyeri Main (King’ong’o) G.K. Prison, Kakamega GK Prison and Meru GK Prison. As a result, inmates and Prison Officers have been able to offer legal aid services to inmates and from 2010 to date 12,000 + inmates have been released following interventions by trained paralegals. The Prison justice centers have significantly contributed to the decongestion of prisons and at the same time made justice accessible to those who could not afford the services of an advocate.

This a report presented during the Access to Justice Day Celebration at the Kodiaga Prison Justice Centre…

PARALEGALS’ REPORT ON PRISONER’S ACCESS TO JUSTICE DAY  

We feel humbled to have you here today as we celebrate this year’s prisoner’s justice day. Kisumu justice center was established in the year 2015 after a training of 30 paralegals including 5 prison staff courtesy of KITUO CHA SHERIA who partnered with other organizations such as ICJ, HAKI MASHINANI, KNCHR and LEGAL RESOURCES FOUNDATION. We have today become the pillar of justice in prisons within the entire western region. Prisoners enjoy free legal advice as well as case management in terms of erecting sound grounds for their defense cases and drafting their petitions of appeals to the appellate courts and submissions and as a result, many have regained back their freedom.

We therefore wish to register our sincere appreciations to KITUO CHA SHERIA and their partners for having thought it wise to enjoin us in their vision of making justice accessible to all.

Today, Kodiaga Prison Justice Center-Kisumu is glad to report that a positive impact has been realized by prisoners within the entire western region as far as accessibility to justice is concerned. Expeditious determination of trials and appeals are among the reasons why, today, we celebrate this prisoner’s justice day. We attribute the gains that are being enjoyed by the otherwise considered society misfits to the interventions made by organizations such as KITUO CHA SHERIA, ICJ, HAKI MASHINANI, KNCHR and LEGAL RESOURCES FOUNDATION among others.

Our roles as paralegals at the Kodiaga Prison Justice Center-Kisumu include:-

  • Advising and enlightening all prisoners in matters of law.
  • Draft petitions and notices of appeal as well as submissions for convicted prisoners.
  • Managing cases for unrepresented remand prisoners.
  • Sensitizing all prisoners of their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution.
  • Offer orientation to newly convicted inmates and bring them up to speed with their obligations as per the prison rules and regulations
  • Draft inquiry letters elating to appeals for prisoners to different court registries.
  • Act as a link between fellow inmates and the prison administration.

As a result of our work, we have managed to register remarkable achievements in the last one year and the same include:-

ACHIEVEMENTS

  1. A total of 154 petitions of appeals have been lodged to various High Courts within the region with some of them already heard and determined while the others are pending.
  2. We have managed to lodge 139 notices of appeal to different High Courts within the region for intending petitioners to the Kenya Court of Appeal at Kisumu.
  3. We have done 101 petitions for re-sentencing to various High Courts within the entire western region with some of them already heard and determined while the others are pending.
  4. 130 submissions have been written to the Court of Appeal, High Courts and to different Magistrate’s Courts within the region.
  5. We have recorded 24 acquittals in different High Courts within the region as a result of the submissions drafted by our members.
  6. We have recorded 15 acquittals in the Court of Appeal at Kisumu as a result of the submission drafted by our members.
  7. We have recorded 21 reductions of sentences from submissions done by our members in various High Courts within the region and the Court of Appeal at Kisumu.
  8. 32 remanded self-represented prisoners whose cases were managed by the paralegals were acquitted either for no-case-to-answer or at the judgment stage.
  9. We have also made several correspondences with various High Courts within the region whereby status of delayed appeals has been reduced.

Kodiaga Prison Justice Center-Kisumu also hosted the President of the Court of Appeal Hon. Mr. Justice William Ouko and we were accorded an opportunity to present our clients’ grievances and have the same addressed with several petitioners being issued with notices to attend court for case management and hearings. The Judiciary in Kisumu also promised to be making regular visits to the prison to address challenges facing prisoner’s cases and expedite matters; this was partly thanks to the good work done by our prison paralegals in presenting quality written submissions to Court.

We however, have faced some challenges in the course of our work and the same are highlighted as follows:-

CHALLENGES

  • Due to the increased workload as a result of the facility’s Maximum Security status holding inmates serving long term sentences from the entire western region, our single computer (Desktop) is highly overwhelmed hence a need for an additional one. We also have a challenge with our HP LaserJet printer which often runs out of the toner and maintaining the same is untenable due to inconsistent funding. We wish to request that your office deem it fit to provide us with another model, preferably EPSON L220.
  • We experience inconsistent supply of stationery like printing papers, foolscaps, note books and pens.
  • Our team is lacking motivation in terms of personal effects such as toiletries, tooth paste, soap and others. We wish to urge your office to consider providing us with consistent supply of the same to boost our morale in providing the services on pro-bono basis.
  • Lack of a legal expert to support us in technical matters still remains a challenge despite several promises of visitation from CLEAR advocates.
  • Lack of an up dated library to consist of recent precedents.
  • Our strength has gone down to 14 against the initial 25 due to transfer to other prisons for the purpose of hearing of their appeals while some have been released on completion of their sentences and successful appeals or petitions. We wish to request your office to consider training more paralegals.

Dated & Signed this 30th Day of August, 2019.

WRITTEN & COMPILED BY: 

KMU/576/12LS

CHARLES ENOS MA KOKHA – SECRETARY

APPROVED BY:

KMU/364/08LS

ELIUD MOSES APWAPO – CHAIRMAN

CERTIFIED BY: 

GEORGE O. DIANG’A (ACP)

OFFICER IN CHARGE

KISUMU MAXIMUM PRISON

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Success Story- Meru Prison Justice Centre

SUCCESS STORY- MERU PRISON JUSTICE CENTRE

CLIENT’S NAME: JULIUS KOOME IGWETA

OFFENCE: MURDER- HCCR.NO: 72/2005

CONVICTING COURT: MERU HIGH COURT

DATE OF SENTENCE: 26/05/2006

K.C.A APPEAL NO.164/2011: CONSTITUTIONAL PETITION NO. 12 OF 2016.

CASE PREAMBLE:

Julius Koome Igweta was charged with the offence of Murder C/Sec203 as read with Sec 204 of the Penal Code. The particulars of the offence were that on 12thday of August, 2005 at Giatune Sub- Location, Mpuri location in Meru Central killed Dorcas Kaguri. The trial court convicted and sentenced the accused to suffer death as the law provides. Aggrieved and dissatisfied by the decision of the trial court the appellant exercised his rights of appeal within 14 days by appealing to the Court of Appeal in Nyeri vide K.C.A.No 164/2011. Through a judgement that was delivered on 24thJune 2016 the same was disallowed.

Having exhausted all appeal avenues the petitioner filed a constitutional petition under Article 50 (6) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 seeking leave to move the court on matters of New and Compelling Evidence. This was barely two months after the dismissal of the appeal.

Among the issues raised by the petitioner were:

  1. That the petitioner has suffered both physical and psychological torture for being deprived the right of life arbitrarily contrary to, or in breach of Article 26(1)(3) of the Constitution of Kenya.
  2. That the law was not fully observed when convicting and sentencing the petitioner, which denied him access to Justice thus breached the provisions of Article 48 of the Constitution of Kenya
  3. That the petitioner has new and compelling evidence which will be adduced before this court during the time of hearing of this application.
  4. That the petitioner be allowed to recall both PW2 and PW4 to give their testimony as new and compelling evidence.
  5. That the Mandatory Death Sentence meted to the petitioner was excessive, arbitrary and inhuman, and deprived the petitioner’s right to a fair trial contrary to Article 50(2) of the Constitution.

In the end the petition which was before Hon. Justice Said Chitembwe partly succeeded as follows:

  • There was No New and Compelling Evidence to warrant having a retrial,
  • That the death sentence meted out to the petitioner is set aside.
  • The petitioner shall serve twenty (20) years imprisonment and that the sentence shall run from 10th November, 2005 up to the date the sentence is completed in 2025.

The sentence expiry date being already defined; the appellant was unable to benefit from the Remission of sentence by the prison authority.

Paralegal and Human Right Officer Intervention

With the knowledge that the jurisdiction to adjudicate and determine the issue of remission of sentence falls within the sole purview of the Kenya Prison Service as per section 46(1) of the prisons Act (Cap 90 Laws of Kenya) which gives prison authorities the power to grant remission of sentences based on  good character and industry. Following his character and good conduct, the petitioner deserved remission to his sentence as per the above section. Since the judgment delivered on 1/10/2018  limited the prison authority from exercising this mandate as it defined the expiry date of the sentence as it stated that the sentence shall run from 10thNovember,2005 up to the date the sentence is completed in 2025; the Human Rights Officer Mr.Joel Katorima, through the officer in-charge MeruG.k prison, took the initiative of writing to the Deputy Registrar Meru High Court seeking clarification in respect to the petition and advice on how to harmonize it with the provisions of the Prisons Act as stated above.

Conclusion

The indefatigable efforts of the Officer In-Charge Meru Main Prison- A.C.P. David W. Ndumu and the Human Rights Officer attracted the unbiased assistance of the office of the DeputyRegistrar, the office of the D.P.P, who in turn consulted the higher authorities involved and got a positive response in favor of the petitioner.

On12th July 2019 a Production Order was issued by Meru High Court instructing the Officer In-Charge to produce the petitioner in question before Meru High Court. The petitioner with the basic knowledge of paralegalism explained himself to the learned judge,Hon.Said Chitembwe who delivered a judgement in favour of the petitioner as it  reads “The judgement which was delivered on 1/10/2018 is hereby reviewed. The appellant to serve twenty(20) years imprisonment from 10/11/2005 and the petitioner to be entitled to remission under the prison laws”. The matter is now a success story in that the judge rectified the apparent error and allowed scope for the prison authority to institute remission of sentence by undoing the definition of the expiry date of sentence from the judgment. As at now, the appellant is reintegrated back to the society having benefited from the remission of sentence.

Report Compiled by:

 Joel Katorima

Human Rights Officer-Meru Prison Justice Centre

Success Story of Wilson Kinyua

Success Story of Wilson Kinyua

Watch HERE>>>>

Kenya enacted the Legal Aid Act in 2016. The aim of this legislation was to actualize access to justice for vulnerable groups in line with Goal 16 of the SDGs. For the first time in Kenya, the role paralegals play in access to justice was recognized.

This is the success story of Wilson Kinyua…

Wilson Kinyua was only 19 years old in 1998 when he took to the capital, Nairobi from his home in Nyahururu to pursue his higher education barely a year after he had just finished high school. He managed to enroll to Strathmore College and all was well for Wilson three months on until one day when things went south and his life took a turn for the worst. After a long appeal process that took years Wilson finally got his date with freedom on Wednesday 13th February 2019 when Justice Luka Kimaru released him together with five of the 11 others whom he had personally represented in a constitutional petition. In an interview with Kituo, Mr Kinyua expressed his gratitude to Kituo Cha Sheria for the help he got through the training he received. ‘’I acknowledge the work of Kituo Cha Sheria especially on their program of training paralegals. It is something they started small but has had a great impact to many people. The trainings on basic legal rights and on court processes equipped me well to represent myself in court and secure my freedom.’’ he said. Wilson affirms that with knowledge comes better self-expression and communication, using the knowledge prison paralegals get from Kituo’s trainings, they are better equipped to support their peers, and are able to grow.

By:-

RCKM

Kituo Cha Sheria

Kituo and the legal empowerment journey in Kenya: Staying the course…

Kituo and the legal empowerment journey in Kenya: Staying the course…

Kenya enacted the Legal Aid Act in 2016. The aim of this legislation was to actualize access to justice for vulnerable groups in line with Goal 16 of the SDGs. For the first time in Kenya, the role paralegals play in access to justice was recognized. Three years later and much is yet to be achieved in implementation of the Act. This is so, as most governments do not prioritize access to justice when it comes to funding. More funding is provided for development projects at the expense of humanitarian projects. To fill a small crack in the gap, Kituo Cha Sheria (one of the oldest NGOs working on access to justice) has used the little resources at its disposal to create community and prison justice centres where paralegals are trained and equipped with self-representation skills. Training of paralegals is a direct means of legal empowerment as a process that brings about systemic change through which the poor and excluded become able to use the law, the legal system, and legal services to protect and advance their rights and interests as citizens. The community and prison paralegals trained by Kituo offer accessible and independent legal services to fellow citizens, especially the poor and marginalized in prisons and in their communities. At the community level, they offer legal first aid and mediate on simple matters. At the prison level, they use the knowledge acquired to prepare for the ongoing cases and for appeals. Kituo trained Mr. Wilson Kinyua as a prison paralegal in 2012, at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. He had been in prison since 1998. After various progressive trainings, he was confident enough to file a Constitutional Petition at the High court of Kenya as the lead petitioner with 11 others whom he represented. At the determination of the Petition, Wilson and 5 others were released on 13th February 2019. His walk to freedom 19 years later goes to show how legal empowerment is a good and useful tool in achieving access to justice. Access to justice is a basic human right as well as an indispensable means to combat poverty, prevent and resolve conflicts. We will stay the course and make access to justice for all in Kenya a reality.

This is the success story of Wilson Kinyua…

Wilson Kinyua was only 19 years old in 1998 when he took to the capital, Nairobi from his home in Nyahururu to pursue his higher education barely a year after he had just finished high school. He managed to enroll to Strathmore College and all was well for Wilson three months on until one day when things went south and his life took a turn for the worst. Wilson was on his way to catch a bus in town when he was caught in a cross fire between the police and armed robbers. In the chaos that ensued, he was unfortunate to land in the hands of the police together with some other people. Whereas the others were released after the public came to their defense claiming they were well-known locals who were innocently going about their daily duties, Wilson was not lucky enough as he was new in town with little known of him.

The then young man was taken to court and charged with robbery with violence, a capital offense which attracts the death penalty if found guilty. Being a country boy who was new in the city without any knowledge of the law- he could not even properly express himself, Wilson was taken through the court process without any legal representation and was found guilty of the offense for which he was convicted and sentenced to death. He did not come from a wealthy family that could afford to hire a lawyer for him and this meant that the prosecution found it easy to convince the court against him. Wilson was then sent to the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison as he waited for his date with the hangman.

All hope was lost for young Wilson as his fate had appeared to have been sealed. However this was soon to change when Kituo Cha Sheria, through its project ‘’Promoting access to justice for the poor and marginalized’’ visited the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in 2012 and conducted a free paralegal training for inmates; among them was Wilson Kinyua. The paralegals were trained and equipped with knowledge on the criminal justice process, self-representation and also on how to properly address the judge and articulate issues well in court. This proved to be the turning point for Wilson Kinyua’s pursuit for justice as he was inspired to kick-start an appeal process against his sentencing while also representing 11 other inmates. This was in the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi Petition No. 618 of 2010.

After a long appeal process that took years Wilson finally got his date with freedom on Wednesday 13th February 2019 when Justice Luka Kimaru released him together with five of the 11 others whom he had personally represented in a constitutional petition. In an interview with Kituo, Mr Kinyua expressed his gratitude to Kituo Cha Sheria for the help he got through the training he received. ‘’I acknowledge the work of Kituo Cha Sheria especially on their program of training paralegals. It is something they started small but has had a great impact to many people. The trainings on basic legal rights and on court processes equipped me well to represent myself in court and secure my freedom.’’ he said. Wilson affirms that with knowledge comes better self-expression and communication, using the knowledge prison paralegals get from Kituo’s trainings, they are better equipped to support their peers, and are able to grow.

Kituo Cha Sheria holds regular trainings for paralegals in different parts of the country aimed at promoting access to justice for the poor and marginalized to realize its vision of a society of Justice and Equity for All.

By:

RCKM

UN INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SUPPORT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE

KITUO MARKS UN INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SUPPORT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE

26 June is the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. This year’s 26 June Global Campaign seeks to facilitate action by local groups and organizations across the world who work every day to support victims of torture and ill-treatment.

Kituo Cha Sheria joins the world to commemorate this International day in support of Victims of Torture and this article seeks to explore the efforts that have been made in the realization of taking human rights approach to issues of Migration and what our Organization, Kituo has been undertaking to advance these interests. Today we commemorate the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Many torture survivors and their families across the world are forced to leave their homelands to avoid further torture, ill-treatment and discrimination. The journey often brings with it additional trauma and uncertainty, but arrival at an intended or unintended destination eventually occurs – most often in a country close-by, or maybe at a previously unimaginable distance. The new location is away from a familiar way of doing things, a support network, a means of supporting one’s family. Existence is precarious. Torture trauma can make the already challenging task of making a life anew completely overwhelming – even years later.

Equally, many migrants and their families across the world face the threat of torture and ill-treatment in the country in which they settle or pass through – simply by virtue of being a migrant. So often in contemporary society the finger of blame is pointed at the migrant, without it being recognized that they are frequently the victims of torture, rape, enslavement, trafficking and murder.

Since time immemorial, human beings have been migrating in search of better opportunities, pasture and a better life for their families. Each one of us, in one way or the other is as a result of migration.  In my case, my ancestors migrated from the Bahr el Ghazal region In South Sudan. In these modern times people are still migrating in pursuit of a better life however of concern are the cases of forceful displacement due to issues of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations. In this article we will talk about migrants to mean refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless people collectively.

“The act of torture supports and encourages a system of impunity. It can take years before the perpetrator is brought to justice, but rehabilitation gives victims the necessary strength to wait for this justice.” – Olga Sadovskaya, Deputy chair of the Committee Against Torture

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2015 estimated that there were 65.3 Million people who have been forcibly displaced and among these migrants, there are migrants who have undergone different forms of torture.  The forms of torture include beatings and starvation, sexual violence, arbitrary and violent detention of Migrants.   The torture occurs in their country of origin, during transit and they continue to experience torture in the countries that they seek asylum. UNHCR estimates among refugees alone between 5 -35 percent are torture survivors.

In their efforts to recover from the different forms of torture, their survival and recovery is further compounded by being far away from their home country, economic difficulties and constant threats of insecurity.

The survivors of torture require a holistic plan of intervention to assist them in their recovery process. The approaches include and not limited to legal, social, medical and psychological assistance and offering livelihood assistance to the survivors. As an organization, Kituo, through the Forced Migration Program has been in the frontline in providing much needed assistance through the provision of legal advice and representation in court and psychological assistance.

One of the concerns of survivors of torture is highlighted in the process of seeking justice and acquisition of legal status. The Refugee Determination Process can be long and strenuous further exacerbating the efforts of asylum seekers and refugees to adjust to their new environment (Host community). Torture victims have a right to pursue justice and throughout this process of legal assistance as an organization we  are careful to offer therapeutic jurisprudential approach where the clients are prioritized as human beings and ensuring that all actors involved will be apply the law in a therapeutic, less harmful  and in a beneficial way. To achieve these recommendations/efforts  Kituo Cha Sheria is actively involved in the training of the Court Users Committees and Government officers (e.g Police) on matters concerning Refugee Law, issues of documentation  and the effects of trauma on the migrants  and improving inhumane conditions of detention or possible torture. All in an effort to improve delivery of services and enhance the human rights of the migrant; Kituo also responds to the challenge of arbitrary detention through conducting frequent detention monitoring in police stations and prisons. Kituo also creates awareness to clients on their rights and creats referral linkages and finally maintaining a positive relationship with the police to ensure in case of an arrest of the persons of concern the organization can be informed and swift action is taken to secure release of the migrant.

Many clients however are sometimes unable and unwilling to pursue legal assistance because they are still grappling with the physical and psychological effects of torture. They have to deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies which reduce their ability to reclaim their rights or seek legal assistance. Some of the migrants may be reluctant to report due to fear of negative outcomes such as being detained or deported. They also grapple with fear of shame and stigmatization.  The reluctance to reveal details of their flight when in detention or during Refugee status determination may be construed as a refusal to cooperate; withholding of information or the giving of misleading information by lying. These misunderstandings undermine the credibility of migrants.

The ongoing effects of trauma like constant fear, re-living the traumatic events- flashbacks disables people’s daily functioning and their ability to fulfill even their basic needs. Kituo in efforts to provide relief to the migrants also offers trauma focused psychological intervention as they continue to pursue legal redress. The migrants are also offered information on what other organizations could help to fulfill the other pending and important needs they may have for instance- livelihood assistance.

As an organization that embodies the human rights aspect Kituo will continue to stand with all migrants in particular victims of different forms of torture to ensure that they get justice through advocacy efforts and legal assistance not forgetting the psychological intervention that will ensure the client is ready to take the long journey pursuing justice for their cases.

By:

Jane Corazon

MHPSS-Kituo Cha Sheria

Kituo Reaffirms Commitment to Safeguarding Refugee Rights in Celebrating World Refugees Day 2019

The world is currently witnessing the worst refugee crisis in history. The number of people fleeing their countries is on the rise, a phenomenal that is increasingly creating social and economic problems especially to the host countries. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) figures, the current refugee numbers in the World stand at 70.8 million people, the highest numbers ever recorded. This has been brought about mainly due to the increased conflicts around the globe.

The 1951 Refugee Convention defines a refugee as one who ‘’owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.’’

Kituo Advocates after a court representing clients

Kenya is now the second biggest refugee-hosting country in Africa after Ethiopia with the current figures estimated to be over 600,000. The country hosts a large asylum-seeking population due to the country’s location which is in a conflict-prone area. Neighboring countries like Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have experienced ongoing civil wars that have caused internal and external displacements of their population. While most people fleeing from South Sudan and Ethiopia arrive in the refugee camp in Kakuma, those from Somalia flee to Dadaab, in Garissa County.

Across the world, agencies, both governmental and non-governmental, work tirelessly to help refugees, but with the numbers ever rising, more help and awareness is constantly needed to ensure that refugees are treated fairly and provided for, rather than being neglected or shunned. Most refugees are vulnerable and in need, and are often misunderstood and maligned; and often have very little of the basic things such as food. Most of them however, are not aware of the rights and freedoms they are entitled to as refugees making them even more vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment. Such rights include the right to housing, education, health, access to court services and the right to identity and travel documents. Refugees are also entitled to the freedom of movement within territorial boundaries and the freedom of religion.

Kenya is a signatory to a number of international agreements that are meant to protect refugees and asylum refugees. For instance, the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1969 African Union Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa compels the government to adhere to the provisions that seeks to protect refugees, including guaranteeing the above mentioned rights and freedoms.

Kenya has also enacted several laws in respect to this, key among them being the Refugees Act, 2006 which mandates the government department in charge of refugee affairs, currently the Refugees Affairs Secretariat to undertake programs that safeguards the rights of refugees.

Kituo Cha Sheria through its Forced Migration Program has over the years sought to safeguard the rights of the refugees. This it has done through intervening in legal problems faced by the refugees especially those residing in urban centers. Such challenges include registration, repatriation, resettlement as well as access to services such as health and education. Kituo has represented numerous refugees in court cases facing them.

It is illegal for the Government of Kenya to send refugees living in urban areas with appropriate paper work to refugee camps, or deport them to their country of origin. However, the government has at times gone against this legal provision and issued statements ordering all refugees to move to camps. This lack of clarity means that refugees in urban areas are often the subject of arrests, harassments and intimidation from both the public and government officials.

Kituo’s FMP, realizing the lack of awareness about refugees’ rights and responsibilities among the refugees, has also sought to provide information on refugee rights by conducting numerous legal awareness forums in different parts of the country. Such forums are usually accompanied with a free legal aid clinic where refugees with different legal problems get a chance to talk to lawyers who attend to them, offering appropriate advice and assistance.

Several landmark court rulings have also been issued after Kituo Cha Sheria’s interventions. Key among them was the ruling which overturned the government’s decision to close down the Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee camps as well as forcing the government to abort its plan to close down the Refugees Affairs Secretariat. This shows just how instrumental Kituo has been over the years in the protection of refugees and asylum seekers’ rights over the years.

On this year’s World Refugee Day, Kituo Cha Sheria joins the world to affirm its commitment to safeguarding refugee rights through addressing legal problems of refugees and asylum seekers under this year’s theme: Step With Refugees. Kituo also believes in the power of information and it is in this regard that the Organization will seek to continue with its awareness programs in the future.

By:

Douglas Mwale

RCKM, Kituo Cha Sheria

Kituo Joins the World to Mark World Refugee Day 2019

Kituo cha Sheria, Refugees and the World are today celebrating the World Refugee Day-20th June, 2019. Under the theme: #StepWithRefugees; Kituo is part of communities, schools, businesses, organizations, faith groups and people from all walks of life who are taking big and small steps in solidarity with refugees.

Kituo cha Sheria’s Forced Migration Programme team.

In a world where violence forces thousands of families to flee for their lives each day, the time is now to show that the global public stands with refugees. This World Refugee Day, Kituo challenges everyone to join together and take a step with refugees. We are part of the movement-everyday, through Kituo’s Forced Migration Programme (FMP); we are devoted to addressing legal and policy needs of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons residing in urban areas in Kenya with a view to improving their welfare and guaranteeing access to and enjoyment of the institution of asylum.

On this International day we seek to educate the public on this issue of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address refugees, and to celebrate and reinforce achievement of humanity- especially in our part of the world. World Refugee Day is observed on 20 June every year to raise awareness about the conditions and problems that refugee face in their lives. This day provides an opportunity to show globally that we all are with refugees. This year specifically, we are taking a step with refugees!

Millions of people are forced to move from their homes every year to keep safe from war, persecution or natural disaster. According to the United Nation (UN) every minute, around 25 people have to leave everything in search for better and safer life. In urban areas in Kenya, Kituo puts her little effort in service to humanity. Kituo in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) opened the FMP Branch Office to assist the urban refugees in need of legal protection. The inspiration to start an Urban Refugee Intervention Centre was mooted when Kituo found itself unable to turn away refugees and asylum seekers, who were survivors or witnesses of various human right abuses in their home countries and their country of asylum (Kenya). We are the people’s watchdog over the implementation of the Refugees Act of 2006, to ensure the refugee’s rights under the new law are realized. In addition, FMP advocates for the respect and protection of IDPs rights. We offer a range of services in legal protection and guidance to our clients in the areas of legal advice in all legal issues, legal representation, assisting Refugees in obtaining of work permits, birth and death certificates, Identity cards etc., referral service to our other partners and investigations of systematic Human Rights violations against refugees. We help our target group in identifying and litigating on Public Interest issues touching on refugees, monitoring cases of Insecurity and Gender Based Violence, research, and training on Human Rights and Refugee law.

Today, and every day into the future let us all take big and small steps- in solidarity with refugees. Celebrate the World Refugee Day! #StepWithRefugees

RCKM

Kituo Cha Sheria