Interactive talk with Kenyan Human Rights defender on 24 November

On Thursday 24 November, 16.00-17.00, the Kenyan Human Rights defender Naythan has been invited by Studium Generale to hold an interactive talk on the numerous human rights issues that he has experienced in Kenya over the past 15 years. He is the head of a Community Based Organisation called Kuresoi People’s Watch, which focusses on indigenous and land rights of the Kuresoi community.

Naythan also works on the documentation of human rights violations that occur in Kenya.

The history of hate speech and incitement to violence in Kenya is a long, widespread and unhappy one. Ethnic stereotyping and stoking suspicions between communities has been used by the Kenyan politicians as a tool to gain political power. This led to many displacements and deaths, most notably in the Rift Valley Province in Kenya. The current rise in ethnically charged hate speech forms a threat for the general elections that will take place in 2017. Kenya also suffers from an increase of extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and other violations as the result of Kenya’s intensified fight against terrorism.

During this special session Naythan will talk about his experiences as a human rights defender in his home country. He will show us how he became a human rights defender and what he has gone through during that time. He will also talk about the threats he faces and about his work in the Rift Valley where he interacts with different ethnic groups who are in conflict with each other. The session will be interactive, so it will be possible to ask questions directly to Naythan. If there is enough time, Naythan can show photographs or short films.

This session will be moderated by Prof. Fons Coomans, holder of the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Peace at the Department of International and European Law, Faculty of Law.

Shelter City Project
Shelter City is a country-wide initiative by Justice and Peace Netherlands, in cooperation with Dutch cities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which aims to protect human rights defenders. Human rights defenders stand up for their own rights and those of others. This is a difficult struggle. Often, they run great risk: they are silenced, arrested, tortured, and sometimes simply disappear. When human rights defenders are threatened severely because of their work, they are eligible for a three-month stay in one of the Dutch Shelter Cities. Besides providing rest and respite, their stay in the Netherlands allows them to continue their work in a safe environment. In addition, they enlarge their professional network of civil society organisations and political connections in The Hague, Brussels, and elsewhere. Furthermore, the human rights defenders participate in training courses to develop relevant skills. Moreover, through public events and workshops, they contribute to raising awareness about human rights among the citizens of the Shelter Cities.

Naythan will be hosted in Maastricht, with the support of the Maastricht City Council and Maastricht University.

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