Freedom House: Public Support for Human Rights Groups in Kenya

RIWI conducted a survey of Kenyans for Freedom House using Random Domain Intercept Technology (RDIT™). Freedom House reported the following key findings on December 10, 2015:

Poll of Kenyan citizens shows trust and support for human rights groups

A majority of Kenyans trust human rights groups and value the contribution they make to Kenyan society, according to poll results released today by Freedom House. The online survey captured the opinions of 2,779 Kenyans during August 2015. Eighty-six percent of the respondents were aged 16-34.

“Kenyans do not support their government’s attempts to demonize human rights organizations,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House. “Our poll found that citizens look to human rights groups to help them address priority concerns, including security, corruption, and poverty. Kenyans consider human rights organizations to be among the most trusted institutions in the country. They are part of the foundation of any democracy.”

Key Findings

Contribution to society: 82 percent of respondents say human rights groups contribute positively to the lives of Kenyans. The Jubilee Coalition’s ongoing campaign to demonize civil society and characterize human rights groups as serving foreign interests appears to have done little to shake citizens’ core support for the organizations defending their interests.
Ability to operate: 80 percent of those surveyed said they would be concerned if half of the human rights groups in Kenya were closed down, with 54 percent saying they’d be “very concerned”. This contrasts with the government’s efforts to restrict the groups, through tactics such as de-registration or freezing of assets.
High levels of trust in media and civil society: Kenyan media registered the highest overall levels of trust by survey respondents (25 percent cited it as the most trusted institution to defend citizen interests), with civil society second with 18 percent and the judiciary third with 14 percent. Significantly smaller numbers express trust in the executive, parliament, police or political parties. Human rights groups are trusted by 79 percent of respondents to stand up for citizen interests.
Greatest challenges: Corruption, security and poverty are the greatest challenges that Kenya faces, according to survey respondents. 71 percent listed corruption and 48 percent ranked security as the first or second greatest challenges facing the country. Those surveyed said the priority issues for human rights groups during the next five years should be corruption, security, education, and poverty.

Image source: Simon Maina / Getty Images