Brief History
PDF version
CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND PEACE
An Educational Centre of Excellence for the Creation of an Inclusive Society that Values and Respects Human Rights and Peace

The Centre for human rights and Peace is a multidisciplinary centre created for the promotion and coordination of teaching human rights and peace education at the University of Nairobi. It draws its membership from the faculty of arts, schools of law, economics, diplomacy and international studies and the institute of anthropology, gender and African studies. The centre is housed under the department of philosophy and religious studies. Its activities are coordinated by the programme coordinator. It undertakes several programmes  in human rights and peace education namely, training, research and publication, curriculum development, attachment, exchange of students and lecturers, internship, workshops, capacity building support and institutional development.

The establishment of the Centre is linked to five  main actors:

1. The Ngong  meeting

In 2005, some staff of the University of Nairobi contributed funds for a retreat at Ngong, Nairobi, to deliberate on how to mainstream human rights education at the University. The staff include: Dr. Wafula Muyila, Dr Wambui Kiai, Dr. J. B. Ndohvu, Kamau Mubuu, Prof. Mwenda Mbatia,Njeri Muhoro and Dr. Jane Njagi.The meeting invited guest speakers among who was Dr. Mutuma Ruteere.The outcome of the meeting was resolutions outlined in its Minutes. The thrust of the resolutions was for members to develop competencies in human rights, encourage others to join the group, form partnerships and to help mainstream human rights education at the University.

As this was happening, unknown to the Ngong meting, the Raoul wallenberg institute of Sweden through its Nairobi office was consulting with staff from the school of law, university of Nairobi,on how to establish human rights education at the law school.

Somehow the two groups came to know about each other, and since they were pursuing a similar goal, they decided to partner. This resulted into a meeting at the Outspan hotel in Nyeri in 2008, under the sponsorship of the Raoul wallenberg institute where the idea of forming a multidisciplinary Centre for human rights and peace and its programmes was born.

2. Haki Africa

Haki Afrika was formed in 2002 as a regional human rights association for university teachers of human rights in the great lakes region of Eastern Africa. It has since ceased to operate, but it brought together individual lecturers from four universities, namely Nairobi (Kenya), Makerere (Uganda), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Malawi (Malawi). The main objective of the association was to promote university- based human rights education and research through capacity building, development and harmonization of human rights curriculum, establishment of human rights centres, exchange and links, raising and sharing resources. Haki Afrika provided opportunities for these; and facilitated the establishment of University based chapters of the association. The university of Nairobi chapter was called Haki Afrika (Kenya). Members received training, support for workshops and publications, exchange visits and fellowships in human rights education.

In 2010, the Haki Afrika secretariat moved from Malawi University to the University of Nairobi Chapter.This augured well for the establishment of the Center for Human Rights and peace at the University. Since 2002, Haki Afrika, together with its main partner, the Danish institute for Human Rights have facilitated the establishment of centres of excellence for human rights education at Makerere (Human Rights and Peace Centre)and the University of Nairobi (Centre for Human Rights and Peace) . The members of Haki Afrika are involved in running these centres and have contributed immensely to the development and growth of university human rights education and research and several programs on human rights and peace.

3. Raoul Wallenberg Institute of human rights and humanitarian law, Nairobi Office

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of human rights and humanitarian law is based in Sweden and has offices worldwide including Nairobi. The mission of the organization is to promote universal respect for human rights and humanitarian law by means of academic research, dissemination, and institutional development. Since 2008, the institute, through its Nairobi office, has been a major partner of the Centre.It has helped the Centre carry out needs assessment test, research, provided seed funding support, sponsored workshops, training, helped establish institutional structures, a strategic plan, and a resource centre, among many other things. One of the greatest achievements of the Centre in partnership with the Institute has been the development of the Masters in human rights curriculum for the University of Nairobi.

4. The University of Nairobi

The establishment of the Centre would not have been possible without the institutional support of the University, faculty, schools, and institutes. The university hosted the Haki Afrika secretariat and provides offices and other kinds of support for the Centre.The centre is subject to and continues to enjoy all the rules and regulations of this world-Class University.

5. Other partners and stakeholders

Other partners and stakeholders have contributed immensely to the inception and growth of the Centre in various ways- such as in supporting the programmes undertaken, namely training, research and publication, curriculum development, attachment, exchange of students and lecturers, internship, workshops, capacity building support and institutional development. These partners and stakeholders include the following:

  • Malmo university
  • Norwegian Centre for Human Rights
  • Seeds of Peace International (Kenya)
  • Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
  • United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Currently, the OHCHR is involved in  providing technical support for the develoment of  a common core course curricullum  in human rights for the university.

 

Report by Dr. J.B. Ndohvu

Programme Coordinator

 

Back to the Centre's main page