Access to Justice
Access to Justice: Communities of Northern Kenya have been marginalized by successive governments and subjected to gross human rights violations since the Kenyan independence in 1963. HSI provides free legal aid and representation to the communities in Northern Kenya whose rights have been repeatedly violated by the Kenyan government to access justice and redress. We further provide civic education and capacity building of community members and service providers and engage in research and documentation of human rights violations.
As part of Access to Justice, HSI regularly represents victims of human rights violations through public interest litigation, including representing victims of Kenya Defence Forces in Garissa, the Kenyan government for failure to carry out its constitutional duty to provide free education by failing to ensure that schools in Northern Kenyan are properly staffed with teachers or replaced with new teachers who fled due to ongoing violence. We have also filed a suit challenging the constitutionality imposed on four counties in Northern Kenya following the Al-Shabab attack on the Garissa University College in 2015. Finally, Haki na Sheria’s Executive Director is serving as a lead legal counsel in the Huduma Namba case challenging the constitutionality and discrimination of the establishment of the NIIMS and the collection of the data for the Huduma Namba.
Women and Youth Empowerment
Women in Northern Kenya have been unable to exercise their rights due to negative and deep-rooted social norms that oppress women among pastoralist communities. We recognize that both men and women must play a key role in transforming these relationships. We also seek to address challenges faced by the youth in these marginalized communities by supporting them in countering violent extremism.
This programme recognizes the ongoing changes in governance in Kenya and globally. The exclusion of marginalised communities in accessing government services will be exacerbated if certain affirmative measures are not taken. HSI is also concerned about privacy rights and the mobilisation of minority communities in securing this right for all kenyans.
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, colour, nationality and origin in the processes that will protect or change the environment they live in.
Environmental degradation in Garissa has been negatively impacting the lives of pastoral communities. The land they use to graze their livestock is becoming worse by the day due to extreme weather patterns. Garissa is classified as Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and generally receives erratic and unreliable rainfall. The inhabitants are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists keeping camels, cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys and doing some crop farming along the river Tana.
Through this program we provide the community with the opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health. Haki na Sheria bridges the gap between the community and the people who decide on development projects that could change the way they live.
Since 2013, the paralegal team has been pursuing equal access to citizenship documentation and related rights for all using the paralegal model. Since then, our paralegals have assisted over 11,200 Kenyans to apply for documentation through individual casework and mobile registration and reached tens of thousands more through civic education.
Our paralegals mobilize clients who lack documents. The clients are taken through the application processes and are informed of the documents required. Paralegals then provide frontline legal assistance and empower clients to navigate government bureaucracy, negotiate and follow up with government officials, stand up to corruption, overcome systemic discrimination, and secure documentation. Through these processes the clients are empowered on how to interact with government officials, understand their rights and hold the government accountable by pushing forward towards community advocacy. Additionally, they are given basic knowledge on citizenship law through community forums and the radio program. Furthermore, our paralegals use former clients to give hope to the most affected and discouraged people from the community.
This program seeks to help the community in acquiring their citizenship rights with the help of well-trained paralegals.