The purpose of this Toolkit, is to provide WHRDs in Nairobi’s urban settlements, and those in similar environments, with knowledge, information and relevant tools useful for improving their understanding on security and protection. The Toolkit will help WHRDs undertake their own risk assessments and aid them in defining security rules and procedures which suit their particular situations and environments.
This Toolkit was developed by Peace Brigades International (PBI) Kenya primarily for WHRDs in Kenya and specifically for those in the urban settlements of Nairobi. It is a tool intended to enhance the understanding that, regardless of whether HRDs define themselves as an activist or advocate, if their actions strive towards the realisation of human rights, they are entitled to protection. While the term ‘Women Human Rights Defenders’ refers not only to women but also to other activists who defend the rights of women, this Toolkit focuses particularly on the roles, risks, and vulnerabilities of defenders who are women.
Therefore, the Toolkit intends to move defenders towards creating better networks and frameworks to protect the rights of WHRDs in Kenya. We expect that it will assist WHRDs to gain recognition for their work, defend their rights, challenge impunity, and seek justice and accountability.
The Toolkit was developed by PBI Kenya with the following aims:
- To bring greater recognition and enhance skills and capacities of women Human Rights Defenders;
- To further the legitimacy and credibility of WHRDs and to champion the formalisation and unionisation of WHRDs in similar environments within Nairobi and other cities in Kenya;
- To strengthen the documentation and monitoring of threats, challenges and violations experienced by women engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights;
- To seek justice, redress and reparation for WHRDs who are victims and survivors of these violations;
- To strengthen networks of solidarity and support that have been built by Women Human Rights Defenders and their supporters locally and globally.
How the Toolkit can be used
This Toolkit is primarily an online instrument accessible by WHRDs in Kenya through which they familiarise themselves on ways and resources available to enhance their security and efficiency in the course of their work. Many organisations have set up and continue to operate documentation systems to monitor human rights abuses. Some are training toolkits on human rights monitoring and documentation that either integrate a gender perspective, or focus specifically on concerns around women such as documenting instances of sexual violence as human rights violations by state agents. Others are modules that deal specifically with Human Rights Defenders.
The main focus of this Toolkit is on WHRDs in Kenya’s urban settlements and names the specific violations, risks, and constraints that they face in their work.
WHRDs can use it to learn about their rights and how to demand accountability for abuses that have been committed. It explains the practical implications of subscribing to the term ‘Human Rights Defender’, and the range of options available for their protection. It can also be used as a guide in the adoption of strategies to prevent and respond to attacks against them.
Intending to complement existing human rights documentation systems and toolkits, human rights advocates can use this Toolkit to integrate a gender perspective in human rights documentation. It provides a gender framework, and identifies the violations and abuses experienced by WHRDs, which human rights advocates can incorporate in their existing documentation systems. Therefore they can contribute towards the recognition and protection of WHRDs and their rights.