- Disability Rights
A renowned disability rights activist and lawyer who works on seeking justice for Kenyans with disabilities has joined Light for the World’s international board.
Stanley Mutuma, who lives in Nairobi, works in Kenya’s Office of the Chief Registrar of The Judiciary. He was elected to the international board in November, 2023.
“I wanted to join Light for the World because I understand the organisation’s work, principles, vision and mission and the important role it’s playing in improving rights and the welfare of persons with disability through practical methodologies,” says Stanley, whose role in The Judiciary focuses on ensuring access to justice for people with disabilities.
“I’m proud to be a member of Light for the World.”
Stanley Mutuma fights for justice for victims of US Embassy Attack in Nairobi
Stanley, who is visually impaired, is a survivor of the 1998 terrorist attack on the US embassy in Nairobi. Aged 16, he was in a matatu (minibus) outside the embassy when the bombs detonated. He lost his eyesight in the blast.
The attack killed 213 people — including 176 Kenyans — and injured more than 5,000.
Stanley continues to work with the law firm of American lawyer Nazareth M. Haysbert and Kitou Cha Sheria legal advice centre in Kenya to seek justice for the Kenyans injured and the families of those killed.
Last year, to mark 25 years since the attack, survivors renewed calls for compensation from Washington.
“Only American citizens and employees affected by the attack were compensated. Kenyans were not compensated,” says Stanley, who graduated from the University of Nairobi with a master’s degree in law after researching compensation in global terrorism.
“I’m at the forefront of trying to assist my fellow Kenyans to pursue that issue of justice. The main goal is to get compensation. Hundreds died and many thousands were injured. It was a terrible crime. We want recognition that this wrong was done and of course financial compensation.
“It has been a long fight, and it is still ongoing. If we will be successful, I don’t know, but we must try. It’s an issue of justice and rights.”
Mutuma champions rights for people with disabilities and supports Kenyan Paralympians
An advocate for the right of people with disabilities globally too, Stanley has represented the Kenyan government at the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Kenya ratified the CRPD, enshrining the rights of people with disabilities into law, in 2008.
Stanley, a keen cyclist, was also elected Secretary General of the Paralympic movement in Kenya in May, 2023. He was previously Diplomatic Attaché for the Kenyan team at the Paralympics in London, in 2012, and Rio, in 2016. He will be with the team for the Paris games in August and September.
“We need more visibility of para sports. In Kenya we have so many amazing athletes in sports and parasports. We need to promote and show their talents,” says Stanley.
Joining Light for the World to make the world more inclusive
Stanley wants to use his role with Light for the World to further contribute to making society more inclusive.
I would like to see a world where people are more sensitised and have a better understanding of the experiences of people with disabilities.
“Where there is more cooperation and greater inclusivity and more practical programmes. I think that’s how we’ll be able to have a more inclusive society,” he says.
Marion Lieser, CEO at Light for the World International, says: “We are thrilled to welcome Stan to our international board. His lived experience and crucial work advocating for the rights of people with disabilities will prove invaluable in our drive towards a just world where every person can live without poverty and discrimination.”
Welcome to Light for the World, Stan !