More than 10,000 persons have been supported in acquiring identification documents such as birth and ID during the mobile registration events and through the paralegal weekly outreaches and legal aid support.
HSI advocated for Garissa to have an additional civil registration office in Balambala Sub County. Initially Garissa County had only two civil registration offices in Township and Ijara sub counties; The Township office was serving 5 sub counties that is: Township, Dadaab, Fafi, Lagdera and Balambala. The biggest challenge has been access to the Civil registration office in Township especially for the communities living in these other sub counties Balambala being the furthest. HSI has also provided capacity support to the Garissa civil registration office by donating a computer and a printer and attached one of our paralegals to support the printing of birth certificates.
Advocacy on the deregistration of the double registered community who are at risk of being stateless. During this process in 2019 HSI provide the following support:
- HSI took a lead role in ensuring the community turns out in record numbers. The organization has used its close links with the community to mobilize them to engage with this limited exercise. More than 14000 individuals have been successfully vetted.
- Legal aid provided to communities where very few lawyers exist and most of whom had gone away for the holidays. Our legal aid certification of documents assisted a total of 787 victims.
- Observation- We were the only CSO who actively participated in the process- challenging the secrecy of the whole activity of the vetting process and taking notes of the number of people who have been vetted, HSI engaged directly with the vetting team especially on the level of discretion the committee enjoyed in the process. We successfully convinced them to focus away from general knowledge questions to more localized questions that were fairer and more easily answered by the interviewees.
- Advocacy on vetting process- We pushed the political leaders to engage with the local government to enhance efficiency, and information to the communities. We also lobbied for the UNHCR team to provide support in helping the applicants to verify their finger prints in the refugee database.
HSI has successfully represented victims of human rights violations through public interest litigation suits. These include:
- Victims of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) brutality in Garissa seeking justice. The victims were awarded over 5 million Kenya shillings by the court. The first such award of its kind in Garissa.
- HSI led the Human Rights Network to file an urgent petition alleging that the government has failed its constitutional duty to provide free education when it failed to ensure that schools in Northern Kenya were properly staffed with teachers or replaced teachers who fled the region due to ongoing violence. As a result of our pressure the Government hired local teachers who were able to fill the gap of the absent teachers.
- Following the Al- Shabab attack on the Garissa University College in 2015, the government imposed a curfew on four counties in Northern Kenya. HSI challenged the constitutionality of the curfew alleging that the order violated or threatened to violate the constitutional rights of the citizens of the four counties (Garissa, Wajir, Mandera and Tana River). This case resulted in the lifting of the curfew from the affected counties. We have however challenged the Constitutionality of the Inspector General of Police to declare a curfew at the Supreme Court.
- Currently, HSI’s legal team has been providing leading legal representation in the Huduma Namba case that challenges the implementation of a digital system that discriminates against the minorities and poses serious challenges to privacy rights. The High Court issued a judgment on 30 January 2020 stopping implementation of NIMS pending the government enactment of a proper legislative framework to guarantee security of biometric data and ensure no exclusion of minorities and disadvantaged communities.
Haki na Sheria has been recognized by the law society and nominated as Civil Society of the year in 2018 on account of its contribution to legal aid in Kenya.
How paralegals help clients obtain birth certificates and improve their lives
Name: Magan Hassan Ahmed
Location: Waberi east
I met Magan Hassan Ahmed on 15 April this year at the offices of Haki na Sheria in Garissa. Ahmed sought HSI assistance to obtain birth certificates for his children. Ahmed applied for a birth certificate of his two children in November 2019 with the assistance of HSI. However, six months later he was still waiting to receive the birth certificates.
Birth certificates are important as without them no one in Kenya can attend school, open a bank account, obtain an identity card or a passport. However, many people living in Northern Kenya do not understand the importance of birth certificates or do not understand the process. The process is also not a simple one. It requires filing out several forms, attaching a copy of the identity card of both parents, the application must be stamped by a local chief and has a signature of a district officer before submitting it to the Office of the Registrar. One also has to pay a fee of 150 Kenyan shillings for processing.
Ali, a paralegal at Haki na Sheria went with Ahmed to the office of the Registrar to find out what happened to his applications. They searched through the records of applications submitted in 2019 and realized that the certificates have been issued but not collected. Ahmed was happy when Ali handed him two birth certificates for his children. He thanked Ali and went back home knowing that his kids will have a better life as a result.
The Second Class Citizen
Interview with KIOS Foundation
Yussuf Bashir is the executive director for Haki Na Sheria, in this interview by KIOS Foundation, he outlined the organization’s role as being the region’s led human right defender, Haki Na Sheria is engaged to ensure there is a respect for human right.
Fighting for human right
In 2012 Kenya Defence Forces went amok when one of their own was killed by suspected al-shabab militant, the soldiers burnt down the famous Suq Mugdi where hundreds of traders lost their livelihood while scores were sustained bullet injuries, Haki Na Sheria as a human right Organization sued the state on behalf of some of the victims and filed a petition at Garissa High court.
After several Months of fighting for the victims at the corridor of justice, victims were finally compensated for the pain and suffering they have been subjected to by members of the soldiers.
The Second Class Citizen
Double Registration: Foreigners at Home
Human rights defender Yussuf Bashir
The Plight of #DoubleRegistered Victims in Kenya
The trouble with identity in Kenya