Restrictions on freedom of expression and association have greatly increased in Kenya in the last decade—and a 2013 law that would have provided a more enabling environment for activism was never fully implemented.
Backlash against human rights defenders has included substantial bureaucratic regulations and intimidation, as well as physical violence. Activists are often the subject of propaganda that paint them as anti-government, anti-development or even as supporters of terrorism. Journalists and bloggers endure frequent intimidation, harassment, and even arrest. In 2019, three television stations were temporarily shut down by the government.
Despite an inhospitable climate toward activism, many in Kenya continue to demand justice and increased freedoms for all citizens.
The Fund supports four organizations in Kenya, helping to develop an activist-led network that can defend space for human rights defenders and ensure their security. These groups are opening dialogues with local law enforcement and government officials to increase respect for human rights and enforcement of existing constitutional and legal protections. They also collaborate to help break down negative popular perceptions about human rights activism and boost public support for their work.