World Mourns Kenyan Human Rights Activist Agnes Odhiambo


Renowned Kenyan human rights activist Agnes Odhiambo has passed away. 

Her demise was confirmed by Human Rights Watch (HRW) Communication Director Emma Daly in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday, October 10.

Odhiambo was an activist renowned for combatting child marriage and advocating for pregnant girls to continue with their education.

She will also be remembered for championing the plight of women living with obstetric fistula in Kenya, lifting a lid on substandard maternity care in South Africa, and exposing the physical and psychological toll of rape survivors of Kenya’s post-election violence.

“So sad to hear we have lost Agnes Odhiambo – an incredible activist and a lovely person. Condolences to her family and friends,” Daly stated, further sharing a comprehensive eulogy released by Human Rights Watch.

Photo showing inside HRW headquarters offices at New York

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HRW

Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, eulogised Odhiambo as a senior women’s rights researcher who spent her career fighting for a better future for women and girls across sub-Saharan Africa. 

It added that she was a creative, thoughtful and strategic colleague known for her powerful and principled advocacy. 

“No one understood the concept of impact better than Agnes,” Tirana Hassan, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch added. 

“She was relentlessly focused on improving lives and lifting barriers. Whether it was advancing education for pregnant girls in Tanzania, combatting child marriage in Malawi, or supporting survivors of sex trafficking in Nigeria, Agnes always did her utmost to bring about change, even when others had given up. Her work has undoubtedly helped to improve the lives and outlook for many women and girls,” Tirana added. 

The deceased worked at Human Rights Watch since 2009 as a researcher investigating violations of women’s rights in Africa.

She previously worked with the media to champion women’s rights and provide a space for women’s voices, according to HRW. 

“Agnes was a great advocate for the underdog and underprivileged. Her work to advance education for pregnant girls in Africa was particularly brilliant, and we will remember her as a dedicated and passionate activist,” Carine Kaneza Nantulya, deputy Africa Director at Human Rights Watch, added. 

Odhiambo had a master’s degree and a Ph.D., focusing on the impact of HIV/AIDS on the discourse of sexuality and gender, from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

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