Around the world unprecedented numbers of people have gathered in the face of repressive governments to demand change. They have called for democratic reforms and stronger respect for human rights. This mobilization has led to sweeping political change in some countries and been met with brutal suppression in others. Maina Kiai is the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. He will provide a global overview of these rights and of the challenges and opportunities that arise when people gather in large numbers to speak out about change.
Maina Kiai took up his functions as UN Special Rapporteur in May 2011. A lawyer trained at Nairobi and Harvard Universities, Mr. Kiai has spent the last twenty years campaigning 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). He has also held senior positions with Amnesty International, the International Council on Human Rights Policy, and the International Human Rights Law Group.