By Sarah Nyakio
May 24, 2021
"No matter who we are or where we live, our lives are better when we treat each other fairly and with respect. That’s what human rights are all about –making sure that values like freedom, equality, and solidarity are at the heart of our decisions and are reflected in our behaviors and laws around the world."
Michael Maina Muraguri Brian is a human rights monitor based in Kajiado County, Kenya. He is trained in human rights monitoring. Brian is passionate about human rights and believes that justice for victims/ survivors of human rights violations in his calling. We had a chat with Brian on his journey as a human rights monitor.
How did you find your passion for human rights?
I found my passion for human rights 19 years ago, just before the 2002 general elections. The Ngong Catholic Diocese CJPC Secretariat organized training on human rights, and I was part of it during the training. I learned that ‘human rights are not given’ but are inherent. We were trained by very passionate and eloquent facilitators who I admired greatly and have never looked back since then.
What is your most significant achievement as a human rights monitor?
Among the many cases I have handled, I am proud of one case reported at Kitengela in 2011 over a particular Father Jeremiah Ole Dashii Pallangyo demanding the rights of some people who had been forced out of their land by a land grabber. While Jeremiah was addressing angry citizens on the disputed land, police officers came shooting. One bullet hit the pastor on the jaws, and he was rushed to hospital, and by good luck, he survived.
IMLU celebrated him during the international day of victims of torture in 2011. IMLU contracted advocate Ronald Rogo for legal representation in this matter's legal defense on January 16th, 2012. The criminal case was prosecuted for ten months, where the prosecution called witnesses, and he was eventually acquitted under section 215 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
IMLU contracted advocate Ronald Rogo to file a constitutional petition to seek redress for violating the petitioner's human rights on March 12th, 2013. On September 30th, 2015, Advocate Scola Munyao took over litigation of the matter.
On January 25th, 2021, at the Machakos High Court, Justice Odunga J delivered a judgment favoring petitioner Jeremiah Ole Dashii Pallangyo in petition no. 57 of 2013. The court found that the petitioner's constitutional rights were violated on October 22nd, 2011.
May IMLU live forever.
What is your biggest challenge in the quest for justice for victims of torture?
My biggest challenge is the lack of a quick response mechanism in cases of torture and the criminal justice process in ensuring every victim gets the justice they deserve.
What does the work you do mean to you?
I love my work as I can help families and people whose rights have been violated, and helping them gives them a lot of satisfaction and happiness. With the help of institutions such as IMLU, I have been able to go out of my way to ensure all enjoy human rights in my small but very significant ways.