K Kanyali Mwikya

Open Society Foundation (South Africa) Visiting Research Fellow, Trinity Term 2019


K Kanyali Mwikya is a Programme Advisor for Identity and Inclusion at the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), where he is the technical lead in designing and implementing the organisation’s work towards the inclusion of LGBTIQ persons in the country. Kanyali is also the lead in designing research and advocacy initiatives to address the legacies of ethnic discrimination and ethnocentrism in Kenya’s political system.

Before joining the Kenya Human Rights Commission, Kanyali was the policy and advocacy lead at a national LGBTIQ rights organisation in Kenya, where he carried out research, developed internal policies, provided strategic litigation support, and designed campaigns related to the country’s national movement to remove laws criminalising same-sex conduct. At OutRight Action International in 2015, Kanyali contributed to the drafting of the organisation’s report to the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, leading efforts to document and raise the profile of LGBTIQ children’s rights in international human rights forums.

Kanyali’s experience in the human rights sector has seen him work on a range of issues including social and economic rights, counterterrorism, shrinking civic space, democratic consolidation, constitution-building, international cooperation on human rights, LGBTIQ rights, and the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. As a result, Kanyali has extensive networks with civil society organisations, human rights defenders, and governments across Africa.

Kanyali has published on human rights movements in eastern Africa, with a particular focus on LGBTIQ rights movements and responses by both African and western governments and was the lead editor of KHRC’s landmark report on ethnicity in Kenyan politics (titled Ethnicity and Politicization in Kenya, 2018).

While visiting the Bonavero Institute as a Visiting Fellow funded by the Open Society Foundation (South Africa), Kanyali will carry out independent self-directed research and writing on the development of anti-discrimination law in Kenya. The research will culminate in a paper to be published in 2020.