Kenya celebrates International Minorities Rights Day for the first time

Presentations during the commemoration of International Minorities Rights Day at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, on December 18, 2023. PHOTO/PCS Via Facebook.
  • The event was held at the Bomas of Kenya.
  • It was a sight to uphold as different communities came together to embrace this day at the Bomas of Kenya.
  • Upon resuming office, Ruto made a solemn vow to uphold the constitution and run the affairs of the state in line with the rule of law.

For the first time since its declaration in 1992, Kenya has joined other nations across the world to commemorate International Minorities Rights Day which is held on the 18th of every December.

The event was held at the Bomas of Kenya.

In the president’s speech which was delivered on his behalf by the Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, he stated that the annual event will be in keeping with the constitution to promote inclusivity, non-discrimination and the rights of minorities.

 Abled differently

Mary Kwamboka is a lady with a difference.

Her physical disability affects her mobility and speech skills, but that doesn’t stop her from engaging in community activities.

She says she enjoys doing household chores without much help because it gives her a sense of purpose and belonging.

“I gained confidence by accepting myself as I am. Despite the many challenges we face, I have overcome most of them by staying positive. I hereby encourage differentl- abled people to develop their diverse talents and not give others the opportunity to discriminate. On this day, I also call on the government to help us feel part of society,” she said.

Tracing International Minorities Day

The world commemorates International Minorities Day annually on December 18. This day has been celebrated every year since 1992 by the United Nations to protect the rights of minority communities, and to ensure the protection of their language, caste, religion, culture, tradition and many more.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi addressing the congregation during the event. PHOTO/PCS Via Facebook.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration of the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in order to protect and promote those rights on this day.

The main objective of this day was to raise awareness about the issues faced by minority communities and promote their rights.

The Declaration was influenced by Article 27 of the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights, which is the most widely accepted legally binding provision on minorities.

Since then, the day continues to be the most important UN instrument devoted to minority rights because it provides guidance and key standards ranging from non-discrimination to the effective participation of minorities in decision-making in all areas of daily life.

 The big day at Bomas

It was a sight to uphold as different communities came together to embrace this day at the Bomas of Kenya.

The day was marked with songs, dances, and the display of cultural artifacts, providing a platform for communities to celebrate their cultural heritage.

The event was launched by President William Ruto, who reiterated his commitment to fostering inclusivity and protecting the rights of ethnic minorities and marginalized communities.

In his speech, the president acknowledged all those who joined the inaugural celebration of the day.

“I have had the unique opportunity to rehash the reasons behind our national clarion call of shared prosperity. I extend my high regards to all of us who have joined in from the length and breadth of our great country and commend you for your commitment to the cause of minorities and marginalized communities,” he said.

The president, through PCS Mudavadi, affirmed this year’s theme: Recognizing, empowering and protecting the rights of the marginalized.

PCS Mudavadi joins Kenyans in commemorating International Minorities Rights Day. PHOTO/PCS Via Facebook.

“This theme will keep us talking about addressing the challenges, aspirations and the realities around ethnic minorities and prepare us for the journey that we must walk in order to achieve these aspirations.

The constitution exposes our pride in our ethnic cultural diversity and recognizes the aspirations of all Kenyans for a government based on the values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law,” he stated.

Article 56 of the Constitution of Kenya outlines the state’s obligation to put in place affirmative action programs that ensure minorities and marginalized groups are represented in governance and other spheres of life.

Commemoration of the inaugural minorities day campaigning for inclusivity and non-discrimination at Bomas. PHOTO /PCS Via Facebook.

The president further said that the event resonated well with the principles as enshrined in the constitution that expresses Kenya’s commitment to fostering inclusivity and protection of rights of those who have been systematically marginalized.

The president declared that this day will henceforth be celebrated in Kenya noting that some communities have not fully enjoyed the fruits of independence and under his tenure, everything will change for the better in the form of justice and recognition.

The head of public service Felix Kosgei asked the marginalized communities to boldly spotlight their unique opportunities and demonstrate to the world that they posses the necessary resilience to impact global affairs.

“These celebrations give you a unique opportunity to showcase to the rest of the country the richness in your culture and heritage. Your dedication to cultural observation has been positively promoting tourism and environmental conservation balancing human wildlife cohabitation and traditional nature-based medicine and health,” he pointed out.

Koskei further said that the occasion was a demonstration of the government’s commitment to protect the fundamental rights and freedom as outlined in Chapter 4 of the Bill of Rights to guarantee enjoyment without hindrance or discrimination.

Upon resuming office, Ruto made a solemn vow to uphold the constitution and run the affairs of the state in line with the rule of law.

Communities showcasing their cultural heritage during the international minorities day at the Bomas of Kenya. PHOTO/PCS Via Facebook.

He also voiced out that due to historical, political, administrative and social acts of commission, some communities have remained marginalized and alienated in terms of resources and participation in national decision-making and development.

“This is a situation the government is committed to correct through all the necessary legal policies, administrative and institutional mechanism in order to ensure that the country looks into potential of every individual and community as we strive to build a strong, stable united nation”.

He concluded by urging development partners, the private sector and all people of goodwill to partner with the government of Kenya in supporting the mainstreaming of marginalized and minority affairs by providing resource assistance so that they are well taken care of.

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Kenya’s commitment to promoting the inclusivity of minority groups is a reminder that diversity is a strength that should be embraced in fostering unity.

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Ms. Nyamwaya is a journalist and human interest article writer who loves exploring the stories of ordinary people and their extraordinary lives. She uses her skills and passion to bring out the voices and perspectives of those often overlooked or misunderstood. Her contacts:


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