Photo of Maina Kiai, seated at a desk and smiling.

Maina Kiai

Director, Alliances and Partnerships Program
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Mr. Maina Kiai is the founding director of Human Rights Watch’s Alliances and Partnerships Program, which focuses on working more closely with our local partners to strengthen human rights.

Before joining Human Rights Watch, Maina served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association from 2011 to 2017. Prior to that, he spent the past 25 years campaigning for human rights and constitutional reform in Kenya – notably as founder and Executive Director of the unofficial Kenya Human Rights Commission, and then as Chairman of Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission (2003-2008). In the latter position, he won a national reputation for his advocacy against official corruption, in support of political reform, and against impunity following the violence that convulsed Kenya in 2008. In 2010, he co-founded InformAction, a Kenyan grassroots organization that uses film and documentaries to both educate people and spur them to claim their rights. Maina holds degrees from Nairobi University and Harvard University.