In the Spirit of Harambee: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Kenya

Monday, 27 February, 2012

For those seeking greater equality in Kenya, this is a time of hope. In 2010, the people of Kenya seized the opportunity for national renewal presented in the wake of the 2008 post-election violence, and adopted a new Constitution that enshrined a strong right to equality. Coming at the end of a decade which saw the introduction of laws prohibiting discrimination on grounds of disability, race and ethnicity and HIV status, and on a range of grounds in respect of employment, the Constitution marked the largest improvement in Kenya's legal framework on equality and non-discrimination.

This report looks at the situation of the young Turkana man struggling to find work in the marginalised desert town of Lodwar, the stateless Nubian in Kibera who can't obtain personal documents, the gay victim of violence and police extortion in Mombasa, the HIV+ sex worker denied medical attention, the child with albinism forced to attend a school for the blind, the rural widow going to court in order to keep her plot of land, and the cases of many other people suffering discrimination, inequality and disadvantage in today's Kenya. The report then analyses the legal, policy and enforcement framework of Kenya to see if it has begun to create change, so that all these people can live as equals in dignity and rights.

The report finds that while Kenya has made great progress, discrimination exists across a range of grounds and areas of life, and that major substantive inequalities remain. ERT and KHRC urge stronger participation in international human rights instruments; repeal and amendment of discriminatory laws; action to effectively prohibit discrimination by state actors; and the adoption of measures to address substantive inequalities.

Most importantly, the report argues that if Kenya is to give effect to the aspirations of its new Constitution, it must adopt comprehensive equality legislation providing protection from discrimination on all grounds and in all areas of life regulated by law.

The report is available in print as well as online.

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