Kenya Country Guide

The Kenya Country Guide was produced by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KCHR).

The Country Guide is a compilation of publicly available information from international institutions, local NGOs, governmental agencies, businesses, media and universities, among others. International and domestic sources are identified on the basis of their expertise and relevance to the Kenyan context, as well as their timeliness and impartiality.

The survey of publicly available, international sources was originally carried out by DIHR in early 2016 and received strategic input from KHRC along the way. It aims to provide a comprehensive overview, on the basis of the information available, of the ways in which companies do or may impact human rights in Kenya. The current Country Guide is not meant as an end product, or a final determination of country conditions. It is intended to be the basis, and the beginning, of a process of dissemination, uptake and modification.

 In the second half of 2016, this Country Guide will be transformed into an Impact Baseline to the National Baseline Assessment on Business and Human Rights (NAP), currently conducted by KHRC. As such, it will be an official deliverable to the Kenya Department of Justice, which is the implementor behind Kenya’s commitment to produce a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. Kenya’s NAP is on track to become the first National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in Africa.

On the road to the NAP, this Country Guide/Impact Baseline will inform a variety of local stakeholder consultations, which will produce recommendations to the government of Kenya regarding key areas of focus for the NAP.

 Read the full Country Guide in English here

Read the full Country Guide here

News Feed

Guide on "How to respect privacy and free expression as a tech SME in Kenya"

26 May 2017 — Global Partners Digital has published a  guide' for tech SMEs, titled How to respect privacy and free expression as a tech SME in Kenya. The guide covers the business case for respecting privacy and free expression for tech SMEs.

Guide on "How to respect privacy and free expression as a tech SME in Kenya"

26 May 2017 — "How to respect privacy and free expression as a tech SME in Kenya" This guide is designed to help small and medium tech enterprises ensure that they are respecting privacy and free expression in your products and services. It covers; the business case for respecting privacy and free expression as a tech SME; what these rights mean in legal terms, and the specific obligations placed on businesses (both internationally and in Kenya); practical ways businesses can start respecting these rights; what businesses can do in specific scenarios (for example, if asked by a government to provide data on their users); and useful resources and further reading.  

Kenya: UN official urges businesses to give more procurement opportunities to persons with disabilities & women

25 May 2017 — "Allocate tender quotas to women, firms urged" The private sector should emulate the government in allocating more procurement opportunities for businesses run by women, youth and persons with disabilities. Programme analyst for women’s economic empowerment at the UN Women Arjmand Khan said women should, however, fight for opportunities in the private sector and non-governmental organisations, leveraging on experiences in preferential public procurement. “We already have a fresh initiative laid by the government. We are now looking at how we can now emulate the government example and bring it to the corporate sector,” Khan told a forum for women in business in Nairobi... Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows that in December 2016 there were more than 1.56 million licensed micro, small and medium enterprises. Out of this, 32.2 per cent were women-owned. The data also shows that of the 5.85 million unlicensed MSMEs, 60.2 per cent were owned and run by women...During the forum, Gulf African Bank pledged to increase the number of women vendors from the current 14, which is 4.5 per cent of the total 321 to 20 per cent by the end of the year. “We need to show the private sector that including women in their procurement processes is beneficial to both parties. It should not however be enforced rather it should be a self-driven initiative,” Gulf Africa Bank head of women and youth banking Najma Jabri said.

Kenya: Lamu island locals say LAPSSET port & transport mega-project negatively impacting livelihoods & cultural life

24 May 2017 — "LAPSSET project distorts Lamu Island heritage, court told" Some Lamu residents on Tuesday told a five-judge bench that the ongoing construction of multi-billion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor has violated their rights to cultural life. Mohamed Somo, Lamu Beach Management Unit chairman, said the LAPSSET project has distorted the heritage of Lamu Island, which is a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) world heritage site. He urged...[the court]  to suspend the project until the government observes environmental remedies on protecting and conserving marine life. Mr Somo said that the ongoing dredging at the Indian Ocean in Lamu for the construction of Lamu port has destroyed mangrove forests, sea grass, and coral reefs which are fish and turtle nesting areas.“This has led to dwindling amount of fish has affected the cultural and socio-economic life of residents who solely depend on fishing for their livelihood,” he said... Mr Somo said they were not involved in the project which begun in the year 2012 and fishermen have never been compensated to date despite it destroying their fishing areas. “NEMA went on to grant licence to implement the project disregarding the environment and social impact assessment study report for construction of the first three berths of Lamu port and,” he added.

Kenya: Locals express health concerns over proposed AmuPower coal plant to govt.; company claims it will be safe

23 May 2017 — “Lamu Coal: A much needed energy boost or cancer causing project?” …Mohammed Athman, 51, adjusts himself…[as] lawyers flip through pages from mountains of submissions tabled before them. Athman believes the proceedings are key to determining whether his home, as he knows, will remain the same or forever be changed. To his right, sat five individuals, all of them members of the National Environmental Tribunal that flew in…to listen to the people of Lamu over the establishment of a 1,050MW coal plant, by private company Amu Power, in the county.  Amu Power is backed by a consortium that includes East Africa’s leading investment company Centum Investments and a group of Chinese companies. Work on the plant, that will take an estimated 30 months to build, was due to start in December 2015, but Kenya’s energy industry regulator delayed issuing a licence due to environmental concerns… “This is not about me. It is about my grandchildren and their grandchildren. What will we leave behind for them?”...The basis of the case against Amu Power is the environmental impact that the coal plant, if set up, will have on the Lamu ecosystem...The projects, the report continues, have the potential of not only marginalising the community but totally disrupting a traditional lifestyle developed and nurtured over millennia. A part of this heritage is the fishing culture of the islanders…Save Lamu says residents of the islands were never consulted. And that the report did not reveal most of the dangers that would affect life on the island. Nema have stood by their report insisting that every legal and logical step was followed in its drafting.  Amu Power says the chimney will be the equivalent of 70 storeys, effectively being the tallest building in Kenya…Sobana Aidarus sees no evil in the project. He says it is timely and will positively impact on the economic well-being of the county.

Court stops Kenya Airports Authority from evicting locals to pave way for airport expansion

15 May 2017 — "Court bars KAA from paying off residents to expand Malindi airport" The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has been stopped from forcefully compensating 25,000 residents to allow the expansion of Malindi airport. This comes six months after the government disbursed Sh300 million to the National Land Commission (NLC) for compensation, with land survey and property evaluation having started. Justice James Olola issued the orders that also restrain KAA, the National Land Commission (NLC), the Attorney-General and the Kenya Police Service from forcefully evicting the residents at Kwachocha... Through their lawyer, Stephen Obaga, they claimed the compensation will not be fair until the pending land cases are heard and determined. “The expansion of the Malindi International Airport at the heart of town is a risk to heart attack patients, expectant mothers and children,” he argued and proposed the airport be constructed at an earlier proposed site in Lango Baya which is 60 kilometres away. The residents, who moved to court through Mtangani CBO, also claimed the airport expansion will result in the demolition of 4,000 permanent and 2,220 semi-permanent houses, causing them a huge loss.    

Report shows how non-material impacts of strategic litigation for land rights can be a game-changer for indigenous communities

15 May 2017

Kenya: Court orders G4S to compensate former employee for wrongful dismissal after she complained of sexual harassment at workplace

12 May 2017 — "G4S to pay Sh35m for illegal sacking, sexual harassment" A Labour Relations Court has ordered G4S security company to pay a former employee Sh35 million for wrongful dismissal after she refused her boss’s sexual advances. Saida Mbonika filed a lawsuit against the G4S company and her boss Dominic Ooko after he dismissed her without following procedure. In her application, she told court she was employed by G4S in 1996 in the Information Technology department...She said the company was required to give her a conducive working environment free from sexual discrimination, and not discriminate her because of her gender. But in 2003, Ooko advertised her position as vacant. He hired a man who was handed another position after she protested about being replaced. The court heard that between 2005 and 2006, her boss made sexual overtures and persistently commented about her body and dressing style even after Mbonika asked him to stop. He frequently sought her company and when she refused, he withdrew her office driver. The matter was later reported to her superior who directed that G4S managing director Ken Wood resolve the case. But Wood dismissed the matter and said the issue was trivial. Justice Nelson Abuodha said G4S neglected to investigate Mbonika’s complaints and showed bias and discrimination by abetting and condoning Ooko’s unlawful actions. “Considering that the claimant’s services could have been brought to an end for any valid reason by both parties, an award of two years’ salary would reasonably compensate the claimant,” the judge said in his ruling.

Kenya: Journalist says environment conservation initiative depriving pastoralists of their livelihood to pave way for commercial conservancies

8 May 2017 — An investigative journalist alleges that the Northern Rangelands Trust, a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been dispossessing pastoralists of their land and depriving them of livelihood. The Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association has denied the allegations. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre invited Tullow Oil to respond to claims of financially supporting the trust. Tullow Oil did not respond. the Northern Rangelands Trust, a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country. - See more at: the Northern Rangelands Trust, a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country. - See more at: the Northern Rangelands Trust, a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country. - See more at:

Journalist alleges initiative dispossessing pastoralists of land & compromising their livelihoods

8 May 2017 — “A conspiracy in the wild” For over 10 years, the Northern Rangelands Trust [NRT], a Kenya-based conservation initiative, has been acquiring land in the arid north of the country…Today, the NRT effectively controls 44,000 km2 (or 10.8m acres) of land – that’s roughly eight per cent of Kenya’s 581,309 km2 landmass…This has been done through community wildlife conservation, a model in which landowners assert the right to manage and profit from wildlife on their lands. … As New African found out…the NRT-inspired community-conservation model is simple and can be quite attractive for anyone ignorant of its implications, especially for the lives and livelihoods of local people…[The] organisation has come up with quite an attractive package for the  communities, including securing for them investors interested in developing lodges and other tourism facilities, once they agree to set aside some of their lands for exclusive use by wildlife and the investors… However, hidden in the fine print are consequences that are considered grave for the pastoralist groups in Northern Kenya. “Even when droughts occur, many of the pastoralist groups [who have signed up to the agreements] cannot access part of their lands that are now set aside for wildlife conservation and which constitute community conservancies,” says Michael Lalampaa…who hails from Samburu County.