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

London, 27 February 2012 

Today, The Equal Rights Trust (ERT), in partnership with the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), published In the Spirit of Harambee: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Kenya. The country report, which is the result of ERT’s three year long partnership with KHRC, is the first ever comprehensive account of discrimination and inequalities on all grounds and in all areas of life in Kenya. It is based on extensive field research and makes a set of recommendations. 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.

Speaking about the report, Dimitrina Petrova, ERT Executive Director, said:

“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.

To read In the Spirit of Harambee, please click here.

To read separate parts of the report, click on the part titles below:





1.1 Purpose and Structure of This Report
1.2 Conceptual Framework and Research Methodology
1.3 Country Context
1.4 Recent History and Politics
1.5 Ground for Hope: The New Constitution

2.1 Poverty, Inequality and Discrimination
2.2 Tribe, Ethnicity and Region
2.2.1 Indigenous Pastoralist and Traditionalist Groups
2.2.2 Kenyan Somalis and Somali Refugees
2.2.3 Kenyan Nubians
2.3 Women
2.4 Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Intersex Persons
2.5 Persons with Disabilities
2.5.1 Persons with Physical and Sensory Disabilities
2.5.2 Persons with Mental and Intellectual Disabilities
2.6 Persons with Albinism
2.7 Persons Living with HIV and AIDS
2.8 Other Patterns of Discrimination and Disadvantage

3.1 International Law
3.2 National Law
3.2.1 The Constitution of Kenya
3.2.2 Specific Anti-Discrimination Laws
3.2.3 Non-Discrimination Provisions in Other Legislation
3.3 National Policies
3.4 Implementation and Enforcement

4.1 Conclusions
4.2 Recommendations