The Current

Advocacy News + Updates

I didn’t know IJM had so many friends. 

As you know, IJM suffered the grievous loss of our colleague Willie Kimani, our friend and driver Joseph Muiruri, and our client, Josephat Mwenda. The three were abducted on June 23 after leaving a Nairobi courthouse; their bodies were found on July 1. Four Kenyan police officers have been arrested and charged with their murder. 

The case unleashed a tidal wave of protest from Kenyans across the political, economic and social spectrum. Taxi drivers joined members of the Kenyan Law Society, human rights advocates, and foreign diplomats in a peaceful march. Thousands attended the three funerals. Kenyans from all walks of life are familiar with police corruption and violence, and they came out en masse to say “enough is enough.” (See the picture of the march above.)

I didn’t know we had so many friends.

Kenyan civil society groups issued two separate statements during the crisis, demanding justice for Willie, Joseph and Josephat. Human rights groups in the U.S., including Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, Freedom House and the American Bar Association strongly condemned the murders and demanded justice in the case.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement, including the following:

“It is imperative to throw full light on what happened and to establish all responsibilities related to these atrocious murders.” 

I didn’t know we had so many friends. 

When the bodies of our colleagues and client were found, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec, and Heads of Mission to Kenya from the U.K., Sweden, Germany, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Australia issued a strong statement condemning the deaths, stating:

“Holding police officers accountable for violations of human rights and other forms of misconduct is vital to end impunity in the police service and to establish safety and security for all Kenyans.” 

I didn’t know Kenya had so many friends. 

My colleague Eileen Campbell talked recently to someone she’d never met, a woman who had received word from IJM about the disappearance of Willie, Joseph and Josephat and had appealed to her for help. She told Eileen how glad she was to sign a petition demanding justice in their case, saying, “I felt like they were members of my own family.”  So did many others: that petition now has over 37,000 signatures from around the world, including many Kenyans.

“I felt like they were members of my own family.” It seems that the IJM family is much larger than I knew. The murder of our friends has brought people together in Kenya, in the U.S. and around the world in ways I’ve never seen before. God, it appears, doesn’t waste anything. 

We continue to grieve the loss of our colleagues and client but are simultaneously turning our attention to the prosecution of those suspected of killing them and to the challenge ahead, which is to secure justice in Kenya for every victim of police abuse.

It is good to know that this great and good cause has many, many friends.

God, it appears, doesn't waste anything.