09 June, 2009

Amnesty's International Demand Dignity Campaign in Kenya

I personally identify with the latest Amnesty's International Demand Dignity campaign especially in relation to poverty in Kenya .The Amnesty Demand Dignity campaign(official website is demanddignity.amnesty.org) that has began with much gusto aims at highlighting inequalities in society that are given little attention resulting in millions of fellow humans living in squalid conditions that are in dignifying.To indicate that Kenya has a special place in this campaign Mrs Irene Khan Amnesty International's Secretary General personally kicked off the campaign in Kenya by visiting the Kibera & Korogocho slum this week!

Sadly,often the fact that slum dwellers in Kenya's biggest slum Kibera lack sanitary facilities and toilets(flying toilets of Kibera) has been one too many the subject of talk shows and jokes.However the reality is that some of the slum dwellers in Kibera have been forced into this kind of livelihood by society and or by circumstances beyond their control.

The Demand Dignity campaign in Kenya provides as follows:

" Amnesty International’s Demand Dignity campaign aims to end global poverty by working to strengthen recognition and protection of the rights of the poor. The campaign will demand the leadership, accountability and transparency that are essential to end the human rights violations that keep people poor.

This is a campaign about all rights. It is the combined abuse of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights that drives and deepens poverty. By demanding dignity we are demanding that all states adopt and implement the laws, policies and practices that will end deprivation, insecurity, exclusion, and voicelessness.

Participation and involvement in the decisions that impact on our lives are essential to human rights. By including all rights holders in policy making governments are at once creating a framework for accountability, transparency, inclusion and empowerment. These are the prerequisites to ending poverty.

The Demand Dignity Campaign will put rights at the centre of poverty eradication, and make rights protection efforts work for all people. The stories and solutions that people living in poverty have to tell will be the centrepiece of this worldwide mobilisation. Together we will amplify their voices and demand effective responses from political leaders. More than half of Nairobi’s population – some two million people – live in slums and informal settlements. Crammed into makeshift shacks on just one per cent of the city’s usable land, people live without adequate access to water, hospitals, schools and other essential public services.

Up to a million people live in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum, crowded onto just 550 acres of sodden land that straddles the main railway line. Most earn barely enough to rent a mud-floored, tin-roofed wooden shack with no toilet or running water.

Slum Dwellers are under the constant threat of forced evictions, which are illegal under international human rights law. These evictions are often carried out with brutality and victims are not compensated despite losing their homes, businesses and possessions.

Sometimes private developers are behind forced evictions and sometimes it’s the government. Residents of the Deep Sea settlement have suffered waves of forced eviction by government authorities. Other forced evictions have been carried out in preparation for government infrastructure projects such as the construction of roads.

The Kenyan government’s slum upgrading programme, while a positive step, is doing little or nothing to address the immediate and desperate needs of slum dwellers in Nairobi.

Despite government promises to provide affordable housing outside the slums, its housing policies have not prioritized people living in slums and settlements, or others who may face the greatest difficulties in accessing their right to adequate housing.

During her June visit to Nairobi, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Irene Khan, urged the Kenyan authorities to immediately stop all forced evictions and to ensure that Kenya fulfils its obligations in relation to the right to adequate housing for the most vulnerable. "

You can participate in this campaign to demand Dignity for Nairobi slum dwellers from the authorities by registering at Amnesty Online Demand Dignity Site and or adding your voice

1 comment:

  1. Ah, I missed this.

    Please check for my DM on Twitter. Would like to ask some Qs about this...



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