This year PBI is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and to honour the occasion PBI UK held a conference on June 17th with a focus on building enabling environments for human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk. The conference featured UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst as the keynote speaker, and included several panels with participants from backgrounds in government, law, INGOs, and HRDs from Latin America, Nepal, and Kenya.
Stephen Kinuthia Mwangi was selected to represent Kenya on the panel about “The Rule of Law: Uses and Abuses of the Law in relation to Human Rights Defenders.” Mwangi is the administrative coordinator of Mathare Social Justice (MSJC), a local organisation that seeks to “promote social justice through engaged community and social movement platforms.” In addition to Mwangi’s role in both the establishment and administration of MSJC, he is also currently training as a lawyer so he can better represent the interests of the residents of urban settlements.
Mwangi’s knowledge and grassroots perspective added a valuable element to the panel discussion. Unfortunately, due to the lengthy process of acquiring a passport in Kenya, combined with the complex demanding and unpredictable process of procuring a UK visa, Mwangi was not able to physically appear at the conference in London. However, his valuable perspective was not lost on the panel. A pre-recorded video was submitted to the conference and played during his panel slot. If you would like to hear Mwangi’s message on how the Rule of Law affects Kenyan HRDs, a link has been provided to the video below. We expect many great things from the work of Stephen Kinuthia Mwangi and are excited to watch it unfold.