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Biography of Mr. Maina Kiai, former Special Rapporteur

Call for a change © UN Photo, Jean Marc Ferré
Mr. Maina Kiai, former Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
© UN photo / Jean-March Ferré

Mr. Maina Kiai was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association from 1 May 2011 until 30 April 2017.

A lawyer trained at Nairobi and Harvard Universities, Mr. Kiai is a long-time campaigner for human rights and constitutional reform in Kenya – notably as founder and Executive Director of the unofficial Kenya Human Rights Commission, and then as Chairman of Kenya's National Human Rights Commission (2003-2008), where he won a national reputation for his courageous and effective advocacy against official corruption, in support of political reform, and against impunity following the violence that convulsed Kenya in 2008, causing thousands of deaths.

From July 2010 to April 2011, Mr. Kiai was the Executive Director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy, a Geneva-based think-tank that produced research reports and briefing papers with policy recommendations. Mr. Kiai was also the Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme (1999-2001), and the Africa Director of the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights, 2001-2003). He has held research fellowships at the Danish Institute for Human Rights in Copenhagen,  the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, and and the TransAfrica Forum in Washington.

Mr. Kiai has regularly been an advocate, informing and educating Kenyans about their human rights through various media.