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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores developments in the protection of human-rights in Kenya post-2002 by examining three interconnected issues: changes in the social and political landscape and how these created or constrained opportunities for activism; changes in the relationship between the state and the human-rights sector, but also within the human-rights sector; and evolving patterns of (non-)state repression of activism. The chapter shows that, against the background of a complex historical experience, and with the help of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution and a reformed judiciary, the human-rights sector in Kenya has grown into a staunch and able defender of civic space in the face of recent government assaults. However, government propaganda and the sector’s institutionalization simultaneously coalesce to disconnect the sector from the public. Coupled with divisions between professional and grassroots defenders, this disconnect risks limiting the sector’s ability to build on the momentum presented by recent achievements.

Keywords: civil society, human-rights, multi-party politics, post-authoritarianism, constitutionalism

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