Law School Headlines
Human Rights in Kenya - A Success Story
The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law hosted a presentation by the attorney leaders of the Legal Aid Centre of Eldoret (LACE) in Kenya on October 17. LACE Legal Director Milkah Mirugi Cheptinga and Board President Eric Gumbo were introduced by Clinical Professor Fran Quigley, ‘87.
The Legal Aid Centre of Eldoret (LACE) in Kenya is a human rights law clinic working in close association with the Indiana University-affiliated and Nobel Peace Prize-nominated AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare) program in Eldoret, Kenya. Since its founding in 2008, LACE has represented over 3,000 HIV-positive AMPATH patients in cases including land and inheritance issues, gender-based violence prosecutions, defense from debt collection and criminal charges, and family law and defamation claims associated with HIV status. LACE has been invited to present overviews of its program at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna and the conference of the American Public Health Association, and has earned the support of the Open Society Initiative of East Africa and Rotary International.
The central Indiana legal community has partnered with LACE since its inception, when Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Patricia A. Riley, ’74, president of the IU McKinney Alumni Association Board of Directors, co-founded the organization along with Quigley and their Kenyan colleagues. A delegation of lawyers, judges, and law faculty, including IU McKinney School of Law Dean Gary Roberts, visited LACE in the fall of 2009. Local law firms have supported LACE through an annual “Race for LACE” held in conjunction with the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.
One of LACE’s many clients is Leah J, an HIV-positive Kenyan widow with three children. When Leah’s husband died of AIDS, he left behind a small piece of farmland that was the family’s only property and source of income. But Leah’s in-laws forced her and her children off the land, and they were left homeless and hungry. LACE was able to go to court and secure Leah’s rights to the land, which provides an income for her and her children. For more information about LACE, please check http://www.lacekenya.com/