Domestic Workers or Slaves? A Question for Kenya

imageThe word “domestic” can contain many different meanings to those who interpret it. Some may think of it as a positive word, one that denotes the respectable position of keeping a home well-kept and presentable, while others may think of it as a negative word, which implies the daily drudgery of household tasks that keep the performers of these tasks in a never-ending routine of work. Whatever “domestic” may mean to people, it more than often has a feminine connotation. “A woman’s place is in the home” is a colloquial saying that was hegemonic in the collective consciousness of American society in the past and still persists in the present times. But what is the nature of domestic work? What happens to domestic work and the people who perform it when it is converted from a kind of work that is not measured by monetary earnings and completed by the women who live in the private sphere of the home, to a service which is completed by a hired and paid worker?

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The Status of Refugees in Kenya

UNHCR E Hockstein Kenya1

Source: UNHCR in Kenya / E. Hockstein

A refugee is defined as a person who has fled his or her own country to seek refuge in another country for the safety of his/her life and limb because of a well-founded fear of persecution. The definition of a refugee also covers those who are compelled to leave their domicile or place of habitual residence because of among other things, ‘events seriously disturbing public order in his or her country of origin’. The main sources of International Law on refugees are the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the OAU Convention of 1969. Kenya acceded to the 1951 Convention but has not ratified it (according to the UNHCR website in 2014). The obligations under these documents include not sending a person back to a country where he or she may be persecuted, and in the case of the OAU convention where his or her life is threatened because of the threats to public order which form the basis for refugee status; not discriminating among groups of refugees; the right of refugees to freedom of movement and to work in the country (though a three year limit on the right to work can be imposed to protect the local labour market); the same right to basic education as a national; the duty of refugees to obey the law in the country where they are received. The OAU Convention adds that members states shall ‘use their best endeavours’ to receive refugees and ensure their settlement. Continue reading

The Situation of Human Rights of Disabled Youth in Kenya

Source: http://tinyurl.com/l3y89vy

Source: http://tinyurl.com/l3y89vy

“When you hear the word ‘disabled’, people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted. But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter”, says Terri Garr, a motivational speaker.

When I heard Terry speak, I asked myself, WHO IS THE DISABLED? WHAT ARE HIS OR HER HUMAN RIGHTS? HOW YOUNG ARE THEY? DOES THE CONSTITUTION DEFINE RESTRAINS OVER THE SAME? As for Kenya, the Human Rights commission defines the disabled as the naturally challenged beings whose daily livelihood does not follow the norms of normalcy, but rather struggles through the corridors of life to make ends meet. Continue reading