1. Statelessness and citizenship
Since independence, Kenya has grappled with citizenship and statelessness among certain ethnic minorities. Some affected populations include the Nubians, Kenyan Somalis, Makonde, and the Coastal Arabs. This problem's core is a debate about who "belongs."
Hitherto, the Constitution of Kenya (2010) provides for citizenship, which is neutral, but the perception of "Kenyan" varies considerably. Discrimination manifests itself in an arbitrary vetting system for proof of nationality, to which some ethnic groups are subjected to secure national identity cards and passports. Some documents that people must produce include parents' title deeds and grandparents' birth certificates.
Nonetheless, these documents have no bearing in law on entitlement to nationality. Therefore, to enjoy all the fundamental rights and freedoms due to citizens, every individual has the right to a nationality. Nationality links an individual and the state with domestic and international laws. So far, we have worked successfully on recognising stateless Makonde and Shona communities.
Therefore, KHRC aims to foster the entrenchment of the rights to citizenship and legal identity for all and eradicate statelessness in Kenya.
2. Electoral justice, including constitutional referendum
Giving power to governments has proven to be a powerful indicator of the type of governance citizens enjoy. For this reason, the drafters and framers of the Constitution declared that Kenya would be a multiparty democratic state guided by the national values laid down in Article 10. The Kenyan State has a mixed history of struggles for freedom and democracy combined with an elite always keen on retaining the highest possible control over power and natural resources. In Kenya's history, ordinary people's dreams of dignity have been stolen at critical times of struggle. The sacrifices of ordinary women and men continue to be betrayed and degraded through the exercise of public power that undermines Kenya's nationhood. The public authority, the product of numerous sacrifices of life and limb, continues to be appropriated, privatized, and abused to perpetuate greed, fear, and injustice.
Through this issue, therefore, we aim to protect the integrity of the ballot and the constitutional referendum.
3. Transitional justice (historical injustices and security excesses)
The colonial and post-independence regimes in Kenya are responsible for gross human rights violations for which effective remedies and guarantees for non-repetition are yet to be granted to the victims and the society at large. This situation is well captured in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report. In its primary findings, the TJRC noted that between 1895 and 1963, the British colonial administration in Kenya was responsible for unspeakable and horrific gross violations of human rights; that between 1963 and 2008, Presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki presided over a government that was responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights. From 2008 (the second and last term for President Kibaki) to date (the term for Uhuru Kenyatta's regime and the first term of President William Ruto), gross human rights violations have continued unabated and with no recourse to justice.
Moreover, the Constitution of Kenya envisaged a cultural shift whereby state institutions conduct their affairs in ways that uphold the principles and values of good governance, including respect for human rights and dignity. But they are not. Therefore, we seek to foster effective remedies for historical injustices and societal security excesses.