Hassan Omar Biography
Hassan Omar was Born on 23rd October 1975. He is a Kenyan politician and currently the senator for Mombasa county. He is a member of Wiper Democratic Movement and a coalition member of Coalition of Reforms and Democracy.
Hassan Omar is the former commissioner of Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR). Hassan got actively engaged in human rights advocacy and training under the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and KENASU. He received training on governance and democracy from the Les Aspin Centre for Government, Washington DC, USA.
Hassan Omar Education Background
1995 : Undergraduate student at Moi University, Degree in Law
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1994 – 1995 : Armed Forces Training College, Millitary Training.
1990 : He attended Lenana School for his secondary school education.
1982 : Primary School student at Mombasa Primary School.
Hassan Omar Political Positions
11th March 2013 – Up to date: Senator for Mombasa county
13th February 2013 – Up to date: Coalition Member of Reforms & Democracy
January 2013 – Up to date: Member of Wiper democratic Movement Kenya
Hassan Omar Work Experience
- Hassan Omar has worked in the private sector in the field of publishing and communications.
- He briefly served in the Kenya Armed Forces.
- He was the Secretary General of the East Africa Youth Council (EAYCO)-Kenya Chapter
- Chairman of Kenya University Muslim Students Association (KUMSA)
- Chairman of Kenya National Students Union (KENASU)
- Former Chairman of Moi University Students Organization (MUSO)
- Former Chairman for the Council for University Students of East Africa (CUSEA).
Hassan Omar as a commissioner of KNCHR
In May, 2006, Hassan Omar was nominated to serve as commissioner of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) by religious institutions including SUPKEM, the National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF), Jamia Mosque Committee and the Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics (CICC). Aged 31, Hassan Omar was appointed commissioner of the KNCHR in January 2007. At the time of his appointment, Hassan was the youngest person to be ever appointed as a commissioner to a legislative or constitutional commission and this remains the case to-date. Despite his young age, Hassan left a huge print in Kenya’s human rights discourse.
Hassan’s work at the KNCHR
As the time of his appointment as commissioner, the KNCHR as an independent National Human Rights Institution was established by an Act of Parliament, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Act, 2002. Under the Constitution, the KNCHR is now a Commission established under Article 59(4).
Hassan was appointed as Commissioner in January 2007 aged 31 making him the youngest commissioner to serve the KNCHR for a 5 year term of office after a vigorous process which entails Parliamentary vetting of nominees, adoption by Parliament and eventual appointment by the President.
At the KNCHR, Hassan has served as commissioner responsible for various areas of work which include Security Sector Reforms, Transitional Justice, National Cohesion and Peace Building and Anti-Corruption Advocacy. Hassan Omar was the head of the Commission’s election monitoring programme during the 2007 general elections and later the August 4, 2010 Constitutional referendum. Hassan served as the Commission’s Vice Chairman from 2008 to 2010.
At a young age, Hassan Omar was undeniably the Commission’s most vocal and visible commissioner and in many ways represented one of the most trusted and respected human rights advocate in Kenya. He distinguished himself as a fearless and consistent defender of human rights and provided the KNCHR with massive public credibility and appeal. Hassan Omar dedicated his time in the Commission as an ardent advocate for accountability and consistently spearheaded the fight against impunity. He is a trusted and dependable defender of the weak and often violated members of the Kenyan society and gives voice to the voiceless.
Hassan Omar had a distinguished and illustrious term at the KNCHR. Being head of the Security Sector Reform programme, he advocated against extrajudicial killings by security agencies and in particular the police. He heightened the campaign to such points as to have the matter gain the notice and attention of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial killings and summary executions. The report produced under Hassan’s watch and leadership by the KNCHR, titled, “The Cry of Blood: Report on Extra-Judicial Killings and Disappearances” published in September, 2008 largely informed the findings of the UN Special Rapporteur during his mission to Kenya in February 2009.
As an advocate against torture Hassan through his department yet published another report following an investigation on a military operation, “Okoa Maisha” to root out the Sabaot Land Defence Force where innocent people were tortured and killed. The report titled, “The Mountain of Terror: A Report on the Investigations of Torture by the Military at Mt. Elgon” published in May 2008 was instructive in calling for the accountability of senior military officers and other duty bearers. The report calling for the prosecution of senior military officer hitherto unheard of in Kenya demonstrated not only the courage of the KNCHR but that of Hassan in dealing with impunity head-on.
Hassan Omar demonstrated his personal commitment to fighting impunity by calling for accountability for perpetrators of the 2007 post election violence. At the risk of his own personal safety and security, Hassan Omar consistently and tirelessly called for the prosecution of high level perpetrators of crimes including cabinet ministers, businessmen and other senior government officials. This was following the release of the KNCHR report titled, “On the Brink of the Precipice: A Human Rights Account of Kenya’s 2007 Post Election Violence”.
Hassan Omar was responsible for putting in place the Commission’s Witness Protection Intervention Programme which offered critical interventions for potential witnesses into the post election violence at a time when the government’s Witness Protection Agency was yet to become fully operational. Witness protection is fundamental towards fighting impunity.
Despite public opinion in Kenya often appearing to provide legitimacy to illegal police action Hassan Omar never relented in his constitutional and legal opposition to extrajudicial killings when combating crimes or renditions in terrorism related interventions. Hassan Omar took firm positions against the vices. The KNCHR eventually cultivated relative public support against the vices and a call for accountability against perpetrators and violators of the law.
Hassan Omar led initiatives aimed at making human rights a popular discourse in Kenya. Of particular note is the “Agenda 5” TV programmes that aired on one of the leading television network in Kenya, KTN. The programmes leading to the August 4 constitutional referendum were able to highlight pertinent human rights issues with respect to the then proposed constitution. The programmes which were immensely educative greatly helped Kenyans to make informed choices as regards the constitution and further articulated the human rights message and discourse to the people of Kenya.
Hassan Omar has participated in numerous human rights initiatives both locally and internationally. He has been able to champion for the rights of Kenyans and for the dignity of all human beings. He is undoubtedly a selfless and unrelenting advocate for human rights and social justice.
Hassan Omar Committee Membership
- Committee member of the National Constitutional Education Facilitative Committee (NACEFCO)
- Hassan Omar was also a founder and board member of the Muslim Consultative Council (MCC) – a human rights and constitutional change lobby group –
- Member of the National Coordinator of the Muungano wa Mageuzi (Movement for Change) lobby group which advocated for the expansion of democratic space in Kenya in the period leading to the 2002 general elections.
Hassan Omar Family
His father was Omar Hassan Sarai who worked with the Cargo Handling Services and later became a banker at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
His mother- Aisha Abdallah Suleiman Mazrui worked as a clerk at Cadbury Schweppes
Hassan Omar is married to Asli Osman Mahamud who is a lawyer.
Hassan Omar Video
Hassan Omar News
Hassan Omar calls for truce between Governor Joho and Marwa
Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar has called for a truce between Governor Hassan Joho and Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa, urging them to focus on issues affecting the residents.
He called on Mr Joho and Mr Marwa to find a common ground and cease the pettiness of “mtu mdogo and mtumkubwa syndrome” (small man and big man syndrome).
“These men must come together and address weighty issues. I think it’s time that Mombasa County focuses on fundamental issues of healthcare, water and service provision.
“You know from one theatre of guards to another of guns, we are making our politics fairly cumbersome,” the Senator Omar said.
He, however, asked the regional administrators to comply with the provisions of the new Constitution in exercising their mandate.
“The manner in which we have aligned the national coordination office under the Office of the President is to totally defeat the spirit and letter of the Constitution.
“I don’t believe that the Constitution intended that against a popularly elected leader that we’ll have an administrator who enjoys powers of colonial district commissioners and provincial commissioners,” Mr Omar said.
DISMANTLE PROVINCIAL STRUCTURE
Hassan Omar called for the dismantling of the provincial structure so that it complies with the Constitution.
He said that this will reduce the friction and conflicts witnessed recently between county commissioners and governors.
The Senator, however, stated that State officers – governors and senators – were entitled to security.
“What is entitled to you as a State officer or a public servant by virtue of being in office whether being a governor, senator or any other officer cannot be arbitrarily taken away from you. As a senator I am also entitled to a certain establishment of security,” Senator Hassan Omar said.
Mr Hassan Omar, who addressed the media on the sidelines of a two-day draft devolution policy workshop organised by the Devolution and Planning Ministry at Serena Beach Resort Monday, termed the gun drama involving Governor Joho as petty.
“We don’t want to know how many guns one has or at what point they were withdrawn. These things are just personal issues and we don’t want any clarity on private matters. Let this matter be concluded expeditiously so that we put these issues to rest,” the Senator said.
Hassan Omar said that the current row between the authorities had derailed the county’s focus on development issues.
“All we see in the papers is about personal matters of who have security and guns instead of how funds have been used in the county, the cleanliness of the streets of Mombasa and other things,” Mr Omar said.