The general aim of each activity is to provide redress to our clients in respect of the various legal & ethical concerns or human rights violations encountered. This programme contributes to the KELIN core thematic area of enhancing protection against health and HIV related human rights violations. The four activities under this programme include:
1. Conducting Legal AID Clinics
KELIN conducts legal aid clinics whose aim is to sensitize and raise awareness of the public on health and HIV related human rights. KELIN has conducted legal aid clinics in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa and Kisumu. Through these legal aid clinics, KELIN has been able to offer pro-bono legal advice to members of the public. Recently, KELIN participated in the LSK Legal Awareness week where we offered probono advice to members of the public on the socio-economic rights contained in the current Kenyan Constitution.
2. Provision of Legal Advice
KELIN provides legal advice on health and HIV related human rights issues. The advice is normally given to clients who have been referred to the KELIN office by partner organizations such as NEPHAK, WOFAK, KENEPPOTE and KENWA. The clients are attended to by the litigation and legal services officer who records the cases, and provides advice. A summary of each case and legal issues raised is stored in the database of KELIN pro-bono cases. Where KELIN is unable to handle the cases, a written referral to another appropriate organization will be given to the client. All cases that are ready for litigation are linked to a KELIN pro-bono advocate for further action.
3. The use of Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods
KELIN is currently implementing a project known as“ Working with Cultural Structures to Ensure Access to Justice by Widows and Orphans” in Nyakach, Muhoroni and Nyando Districts in Nyanza Province. This project is being undertaken in conjunction with the Open Society Foundation(OSF), Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the Health Policy Initiative, the Luo Council of Elders, and the Nyakach Elders. The Cultural Structures project seeks to address the legal and human rights concerns of widows, orphans and other vulnerable groups in the community with regard to property inheritance and ownership. The project aims to utilize community structures (Luo Council of Elders and community elders/leaders) to boost the right to access, own and inherit property. To date, over a period of 24months, thirty one (31) women and their children have been resettled in their matrimonial land and ten(10) semi-permanent houses have been build for the most vulnerable widows by members of the community and partner organizations while 30 cases are still ongoing. KELIN is among the pioneer organizations to engage with cultural structures and the success is being emulated by other organizations. KELIN prepared and launched a tool kit on the 16th of December 2010, on how to work with cultural structures to facilitate access to justice. The sucess of this project has created demand for more expansion. OSF has agreed to fund the expansion of the activities to two more districts (Kisumu and Kabondo).
4. Litigation Support
KELIN provides litigation support to cases that have been referred and those that are ready for filling in court or any other relevant tribunal. KELIN also undertakes public interest and strategic litigation with regards to matters relating to health and human rights. KELIN is the only organization in Kenya whose members filed the first successful suit challenging HIV discrimination at the workplace, testing without consent, breach of confidentiality, on the basis of one’s HIV status. Some of the cases in which KELIN members have provided litigation support and legal advice include:
- J. A. O. Vs Home Park Caterers & Metropolitan Hospital HCC No. 38 of 2003 Nairobi.
- Homepark Caterers Limited Vs. The Attorney General and Another Petition N.o 671 of 2000 Nairobi.
- P.A.O and 2 others vs. The Attorney General of Kenya Petition N.o 409 of 2009 Nairobi.
- D.N and 2 others vs. The Attorney General of Kenya Petition N.o 3 of 2010 Eldoret.
- SMG vs Republic Misc, CR, APP. NO. of 24 of 2011 HC. EMBU
These activities are complimented by the database of 140 KELIN pro-bono lawyers, who offer free legal advice and litigation support to clients of KELIN. The database is being expanded with more pro-bono lawyers, locally and regionally. KELIN also relies on the pro-bono services of community elders in Nyakach, Nyando and Muhoroni district to help in the arbitration and resettlement of widows.
Only the cultural structures programme is fully funded and supported by the Open Society Foundation. Additional support has been received from Caretime Services Limited. The rest of the activities are done on a pro-bono basis and KELIN is in the process of fundraising to receive support for these activities.