For years, the urban settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, have suffered various forms of structural violence, including: land grabbing, forced evictions, police abuse and extrajudicial killings, political impunity and other economic, social and psychological violations. This violence has been allowed to go on without any retribution to the community, especially as most of the community continues to live in fear of the consequences of standing up for their rights.
"Now we have voices. We will fight to rescue the democratic process and have an accountable police service " Gacheke Gachihi
In order to address these issues, a collective of young community members and experienced social justice activists in Mathare came together in 2015, founding the Mathare Social Justice Centre. The MSJC’s mission is to promote social justice in Mathare by means of community engagement and the use of social movement platforms. Since 2015, the MSJC has undertaken a number of organizing activities with all cross-sections of the community and have focused on the documentation of extrajuridical killings.
"What's social justice? Rights to food, rights to water, right to live, housing, health care and education" Juliet Wanjira
In February 2020 PBI UK sent a delegation from the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk to Nairobi to assess the progress of our project and discuss with Kenyan human rights defenders the possibility of further international support from the UK legal community. As part of the delegation PBI UK Director Susi Bascon and filmmaker Manu Valcarce met with several of the human rights defenders working for social justice centres in the city, and gathered their testimonies on the situation for communities living in the urban settlements of Nairobi. They also spoke to UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, Agnes Callamard, who attended, in personal capacity, the conference on extrajudicial Killings organised by Mathare Social Justice Centre, Ghetto Foundation and Saferworld.