PBI UK provides life-saving support to human rights defenders in some of the most dangerous countries in the world. Human Rights Defenders speak out for the rights of others and as a result their livelihoods, their liberty and in many cases their lives are put at risk.PBI provides support, training and international volunteers to accompany at-risk defenders to keep defenders alive and help their activism thrive. PBI also provides protection through our advocacy work to create an enabling environment for defenders voices to be heard.
I am also running in honour of Peter Wanyama Wanyonyi, a Kenyan lawyer in Western Province, who was ambushed at the gate of his house and shot dead in a premeditated murder in 2013. Wanyama was a friend and colleague. We do not yet know why he was killed, because his death has not been seriously investigated. The history of similar murders in Kenya suggests that we may never know the full details. Few people doubt that he was assassinated for political reasons. But many people had a reason to want him out of the way, because he was willing to represent those who rights had been abused. If Wanyama died because of his determination to improve the lives of fellow Kenyans, he was not the first and he will likely not be the last.
Raising funds for PBI will help to make sure that fewer people lose their lives representing the interests of the marginalised. If we meet PBI's target of £350 to support their activities, I will personally match this with a donation to his widow and family, who have lost both a loved one and an important bread winner.
For more on Wanyama's life and death, see this piece I wrote for Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper at the time.