Greenpeace Africa’s (www.Greenpeace.org/africa) Executive Director, Njeri Kabeberi, has won the 2017 Munir Mazrui ‘Lifetime Achievement Human Rights Defenders Award’ in a ceremony organised by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD-K) at the Royal Netherlands embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. This is one of three categories of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) Awards launched in 2016 to recognise and honour the work of human rights defenders in Kenya.
NCHRD-K is a national organization that promotes the safety and security of human rights defenders in Kenya through advocacy, capacity building and protection. It works in partnership with a Working Group on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, chaired by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.
Announcing the award, Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director of the HRDs coalition in Kenya said:
“Njeri is a selfless Woman Human Rights Defender who has broken chains of patriarchy to lead successful campaigns for justice, good governance and human rights in Kenya and beyond. Njeri has mentored many and her recent advances in the environmental protection crowns her lifelong commitment to human rights promotion and protection that deserves recognition and celebration.”
Upon receiving the award, Njeri Kabeberi said she was humbled and honoured.
“Despite having received a number of International Awards this is the first time I have been recognised in my own country – and since it is said that a ‘prophet is never recognised in their own home’, this then becomes the biggest victory and the sweetest award to date.”
“Human rights defenders’ work is lonely and hardly appreciated but I know that focus, persistence and resilience always cause the desired impact. We earn our freedom when we learn to face fear head on; that is what others call courage” continued Ms. Kabeberi.
Njeri’s activism career spans over three decades; as a young girl in 1982, she quietly began supporting mothers and wives of political prisoners but her human rights work was only thrown into limelight a decade later when she was invited to the late Prof. Wangari Maathai’s house to join the organization of the campaign to release Kenyan political prisoners.
With this long history in human rights activism, Njeri is now leading Greenpeace Africa into a new wave of environmental justice for Africans by Africans. Human rights is inextricably linked to climate change.
“If we won the human rights and governance battle, but lost our planet, we would have lost everything.”
“My current vision is to build an Environmental Movement in Africa so powerful that African citizens begin to take responsibility for their future. This can be achieved by restoring the continent through green pathways and seeking global environmental justice to mitigate climate change impacts” concluded Kabeberi.