During November and December PBI organised a 'Virtual Speaker Tour', comprising of webinars, media engagement and meetings with the international community. The virtual nature of the Speaker Tour was necessitated by the global Covid-19 pandemic, which made international travel problematic. The speakers, Maryanne Kasina from Kayole Community Justice Centre and Anthony Kimani from Kiamaiko Community Social Justice Centre, represented the Social Justice Centres Working Group in these spaces. Maryanne Kasina is passionate about advocating for safe spaces for the girl child and a champion against the criminalization of youth from urban settlements. Antony Kimani is an enthusiastic human rights defender and a believer in the rule of law and justice for all.

The two HRDs held several meetings with officials from ministries of Foreign Affairs, civil society organisations, United Nations representatives, journalists, lawyers, and the interested public, from Canada, UK, Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands. The speaker tour touched on the following issues: the implementation of The National Coroners Service Act 2017 and the Prevention of Torture Act 2017; protection of human rights defenders; clear investigations on extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances; and the participation of the international community in Kenya regarding police accountability.

For example, Anthony Kimani spoke to Cristophe Koessler from the Swiss newspaper Le Courrier about police violence in Kenya, threats against human rights defenders, and access to basic rights in the urban settlements. Read the article, in French, on PBI Switzerland’s website: https://www.peacebrigades.ch/sites/default/files/publication/pdf/201204_Le%20Courrier_article%20Kenya.pdf

Maryanne Kasina spoke to Nicole Lobeek of Radio Stadtfilter about women's rights, the work of the Social Justice Centres against gender-based violence and the lack of access to menstrual products. Listen to the recording "Selling bodies for tampons?", in German and English, here: https://stadtfilter.ch/koerper-verkaufen-fuer-tampons/

As part of the Speaker Tour, Maryanne Kasina participated in a webinar with women human rights defenders from Colombia and Canada to mark International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, 29 November. She highlighted the issues of gender-based violence, extra-judicial killings by the police, the feminization of poverty, and the importance of access to clean drinking water in the informal settlements of Nairobi, especially during the pandemic. Both defenders also were the speakers of a webinar organised by our PBI Germany country group on police violence, where they discussed organising strategies against police violence.

The human rights defenders also had a series of closed meetings with organisations and the diplomatic community. In order to broaden their support network, they had meetings with organisations and solidarity groups in the UK, and with the diplomatic community. For example, on 10 December Maryanne Kasina and Anthony Kimani spoke to staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. As it was International Human Rights Day that day, it was a good day to reflect on the people who are committing themselves to promote and protect human rights and to listen to their stories. They talked about the struggles in Nairobi, worsened by the measures taken to control the spread of Covid-19. The Human Rights Defenders were advocating for more transparency and justice for victims of police- and gender-based violence. In this fight for justice, they emphasized how important it is to push the agenda for the Coroners Service Act and the Prevention of Torture Act.

This virtual speaker tour was preceded by some other online activities that aim to inform the broader public about the work of the Social Justice Centres. For example, in October Faith Kasina from Kayole Social Justice Centre and co-convenor of the Social Justice Centres Working Group, spoke in a webinar titled 'Police violence has no borders'. The webinar had a panel of human rights defenders in countries where PBI is active. To watch some of the interventions, please visit: https://www.peacebrigades.nl/nieuws/webinar-grenzeloos-politiegeweld-mensenrechten-verdediging-van-land-en-straffeloosheid-van-de-politie/

This virtual speaker tour is part of "Increased capacities, stronger networks" - a pilot project in supporting Social Justice Center Working Group's members in Nairobi's urban settlements', and supported with German Federal Foreign Office's funds by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Funding Programme zivik. Speaker tours are a collaborative effort and organised with the help of all of PBI's country groups.