In February 2016, PBI UK welcomed Kenyan Human Rights Defender Gacheke Gachihi to London. In Spring 2016 Gacheke was invited to join the Protective Fellowship Scheme for Human Rights Defenders at Risk at The Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York.(1)
Gacheke Gachihi is a social justice activist who has been active in the human rights movement in Kenya for over a decade. He is a founding member of Bunge la Mwananchi (‘People’s Parliament’), an organic pro-poor social movement in Kenya historically related to popular social struggles for empowerment and participatory democracy. He is also currently a coordinator of the Mathare Social Justice Centre. Human rights defenders in Kenya face a particularly dangerous environment including criminalisation (2), harassment and NGOs face threats of closure.(3) PBI Kenya has been working with Gacheke since 2013.
During his time in London, Gacheke met with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights as well as representatives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss the situation for human rights defenders in Kenya. He also met with NGOs and civil society organisations including: War on Want, Christian Aid and Action Aid. During his time in the UK Gacheke also met MP for York Central; Rachael Maskell and attended an anti-Trident demonstration where he had the opportunity to meet with MP and leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, as well as MP Caroline Lucas.
Following his time in the UK Gacheke will embark on a speaker tour of Europe to carry out further meetings in Germany, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Ireland.
Read more about Gacheke and his work here.