The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya (NCHRD-K) and the Working Group on Human Rights Defenders announces the winners of the 2018 Human Rights Defenders Awards during a ceremony held in Nairobi at the Residence of the Belgian Ambassador.
The 2018 winners are:
Human Rights Defender of the Year: Anastacia Nambo and Is’haq Abubakar
Upcoming Human Rights Defender of the Year: Christine Kandie
Munir Mazrui Lifetime achievement: Okiya Omtatah
For the third consecutive year, and chosen by an independent selection panel of eminent Kenyans, chaired by Dr Willy Mutunga, the three different awards were handed out to the winners for their outstanding work in the field of human rights. Some of the selection criteria included civil courage, leadership, innovation, demonstrable impact of the HRD’s work on the community, and creativity.
“In every community, there are individuals who stand out. They defend human rights, and they do so at times under very extraordinary circumstances,” says Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders. “The good bit is that their work is appreciated by the society but they are rarely honored with state commendations. The awards ceremony is a special occasion to honor those courageous individuals who do
excellent work within our communities.”
The objective of the Awards ceremony is to honor the extraordinary work of Human Rights Defenders in the protection of human rights while they face many challenges in their capacity of agents of social change and transformation. An important aim of the awards is to improve the safety and protection of Human Rights Defenders as they benefit from the visibility and international recognition.
“As a country, Belgium strongly believes that respect for human rights is one of the cornerstones of a democratic society, as well as of development,” says H.E. Nicolas Nihon, Ambassador of Belgium to Kenya. “Human rights and the protection of HRDs are a very important part of our foreign policy and we believe that solidarity in this domain is essential.”
The Awards ceremony is an initiative of the Human Rights Defenders Working Group, currently presided by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders of Kenya and co-chaired by Belgium. The Working Group brings together civil society organizations, activists and development partners to pursue the universal goal of protecting human rights and the defenders of these rights.