10 March 2017
On 6th March, PBI Kenya hosted the third and final session in our series of workshops examining the issues facing Human Rights Defenders (HRD) in exile in Kenya.
The workshop brought together exiles from Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan, as well as refugee and protection service providers, the international community and government.
The session gave participants the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences of exiled HRDs including the challenges of continuing their human rights work and the issues specific to women HRDs in exile.
"I am so happy that today I am not a [refugee] number. Today you have allowed me to claim back my identity, to present myself as a human being. Maybe I will become a number again, but I address you, at least today, as someone from somewhere." (testimony of an exiled woman human rights defender)
Following this, there was a panel discussion of service providers and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Refugees Affairs Secretariat (RAS), the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (DefendDefenders) and HIAS spoke about their work with exiled HRDs.
The participants then took part in break-out groups, which provided the opportunity to look at the issues of protection and continuing human rights work in exile in detail.
A report based on the workshops is currently being developed and will examine the current gaps in the supports for exiled HRDs and outline how they can be addressed.