Kenya

The Courage to Say No (Spirituality & Health)

8/26/2014 -- Spirituality & Health -- "The Courage to Say No" The fight against FGM in Kenya.

Is Kenya finally starting to tackle its sexual violence epidemic? (Thomson Reuters)

7/16/2014 -- Thomson Reuters -- "Is Kenya finally starting to tackle its sexual violence epidemic?" Kimberly M. Brown, AGLDF Consultant, on the onging Justice For Liz campaign:

Kenya: Ensure justice for 16-year-old Liz & all victims of sexual violence

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2014 Jan 23
Update: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

31 JULY 2014 UPDATE: The trial to obtain justice for Liz began on 24 June with court proceedings subsequently adjourned until 11-12 September. With the beginning of the trial, we are encouraged by the increased responsiveness of government officials to address sexual violence in Busia/Western Kenya arising from the campaign. In June, Equality Now wrote to the Kenyan Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) – detailing 70 additional rape cases compiled by our partners, which had not been investigated and/or the identified suspects had not been arrested – to spur them to take action. Less than a month later, the DPP responded to say that he had contacted the Director of Criminal Investigations calling for “speedy and thorough investigations” into the cases; asked for the files to be submitted to his office for appropriate action following the investigations; and, that he had appointed a team from the DPP’s Sexual and Gender Based Violence unit to provide guidance during the investigations.

We are extremely hopeful that this response from senior leadership signals that sexual violence will be taken seriously and handled appropriately in Kenya. Equality Now, COVAW, Avaaz, REEP and the SOAWR coalition thank you for partnering with us on this campaign, and we will continue to update you as the situation progresses.


20 JUNE 2014 UPDATE: Renewed call to Action! The trial for Liz’s case is scheduled to begin on Tuesday 24 June and, though it’s been nearly a year, still only one of the five gang rape suspects has been arrested, despite community reports that the whereabouts of the remaining five are known.

Please help us continue to demand justice for victims of sexual violence in Kenya and raise awareness on the systemic failures to address the problem in Busia County - the site of Liz’s attack and a region with a high prevalence of sexual violence against women and girls.

On Monday 23 June, Equality Now, COVAW, Avaaz, REEP and the SOAWR coalition are holding a rally and community dialogue in Busia, to amplify our call for justice and for authorities to take sexual violence more seriously in Kenya, especially in Busia.

The renewed call and details about the rally are available here – please join us in spreading the word that we’ve had ENOUGH when it comes to sexual violence!


17 APRIL 2014 UPDATE: Progress! We’re pleased to report that following the 8 April hearing, the Director of Public Prosecutions has finally amended and upgraded the charges against all six suspects to gang rape, and issued arrest warrants for the remaining five suspects. The case is set to go to trial on 24 June.

Thank you for keeping up the pressure on Kenyan officials to get justice for Liz and we'll continue to update you as the case progresses. We hope that you will continue to join with Equality Now and our partners in calling on Kenyan officials to ensure that all sexual violence complaints are handled swiftly and appropriately, and that officials are properly equipped to deal with survivors and victims of sexual violence.


28 March 2014 Update: Thank you to the thousands of supporters who have taken action to demand Justice for Liz. Authorities took notice, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions initially issued public assurances that the case would proceed to court without further delay. However, following a hearing on 24 March 2014, it's clear that the authorities still aren't taking Liz’s case seriously. To date, only one of the  six suspects have been arrested, despite reports that their whereabouts are known, and the charge sheet still has not been amended to reflect rape or other crimes of sexual violence under the Sexual Offenses Act. Further, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority has not yet released their investigative report on the allegations of egregious professional misconduct by police officers handling this case, and no lawful action has been taken to address the police failures in this case.

The next hearing is scheduled for 8 April 2014 and we need your help! Please maintain pressure to obtain justice for Liz. Authorities must take immediate action to protect Kenya’s women and girls from sexual violence and to ensure timely access to justice for all survivors and victims.


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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

  • Call on the officials below to take immediate steps to arrest all the remaining suspects so the trial can proceed with them present.
  • Urge Kenya’s criminal justice sector work together more effectively to ensure that the Sexual Offences Act is effectively implemented so that all cases of sexual violence are properly investigated and prosecuted, particularly in the Butula and Nambale sub-counties of Busia County.
  • Urge the Independent Policing Oversight Authority to investigate and report on the allegations of egregious professional misconduct by the police officers handling this case, and to take action against the police failures in this case.
  • Urge the government of Kenya to prioritize the training of law enforcement officials to ensure that sexual violence complaints are appropriately handled and that officials are equipped to deal with survivors of sexual violence by rectifying harmful behaviors that might further distress victims or impede their access to justice.
  • Take part in the #JusticeForLiz social media campaign. Messages can also be re-tweeted from @equalitynow, @COVAW and @FemnetProg.
  • Help us spread the word about this campaign by sharing this Action with your friends.

Letters should be addressed to:

H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta
President of the Republic of Kenya
P.O. Box 30040
Nairobi, Kenya
@StateHouseKenya, @UKenyatta
info@president.go.ke

Hon. Prof Githu Muigai
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Harambee Avenue
P.O Box 40112-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
oagpcomms@kenya.go.ke
@AGMuigai

Hon. Joseph Ole Lenku
Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government
Harambee House, Harambee Avenue, P.0. Box 30510-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
@joelenku, @InteriorKE

Hon. Mr. Keriako Tobiko
Director of Public Prosecution
Office of the DPP
NSSF Building, 19th Fl
Bishops Road
P.O. Box 30701-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
info@odpp.go.ke

H.E. Ms. Anne Waiguru
Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Devolution & Planning
P. O. Box 30005 - 00100
Nairobi, Kenya
info@devolutionplanning.go.ke
@AnneWaiguru

Hon Dr. Willy Mutunga
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of Kenya
City Hall Way
P.O. Box 30041-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
chiefjustice@judiciary.go.ke
@WMutunga

Hon. Sospeter Odeke Ojaamong
Governor, Busia County
County Government of Busia
Fomer Busia Town Hall Building
P.O Box Private Bag Busia
50400 Busia, Kenya
info@busiacounty.go.ke

Ms. Patricia Nyaundi
Secretary to the Commission
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
1st Floor CVS Plaza, Kasuku Rd.
P.O. Box: 74359-00200
Nairobi, Kenya
haki@knchr.org

Independent Policing
Oversight Authority
1st Ngong Avenue,
ACK Garden Annex, 2nd Fl.
P. O. Box 23035 00100
Nairobi, Kenya
info@ipoa.go.ke

With a copy to: The Kenya Women Parliamentary Association, Email: info@kewopa.org

Letters: 

Dear President/Minister/Governor,

I am deeply concerned about the mounting evidence demonstrating Kenyan authorities’ systemic failure to investigate and prosecute sexual violence cases. I am particularly disturbed by the brutal rape of Liz in Busia County that occurred on June 26, 2013, and the subsequent miscarriage of justice by authorities in Liz’s case. To date five of the six suspects identified have not been arrested despite reports that their whereabouts are known. Much more must be done to protect Kenya’s women and girls from sexual violence and to ensure timely access to justice for all survivors.

Liz’s case drew national and international attention to Busia County and the failures of the local authorities to adequately address sexual violence. The evidence in Busia in is very compelling, and highlights the prevalence of sexual violence plaguing women and girls, and the tremendous obstacles encountered at every stage of the criminal justice process. There are dozens if not hundreds of cases that underscore just how dire the situation has become.

Kenya’s 2006 Sexual Offences Act criminalizes all forms of sexual violence and the 2010 Constitution entrenches the rights and fundamental freedoms of all, while also giving significant prominence to human rights and international law (specifically see Articles 27, 28, 29, and 48). Kenya has also ratified and domesticated a number of human rights instruments that affirm the State’s responsibility to protect women and girls from sexual violence, including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Protocol), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I join Equality Now and their partners through the Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) Coalition - COVAW, FIDA-Kenya, FEMNET, Fahamu and IPAS - in calling for justice for Liz and for all survivors and victims of sexual violence. I urge Kenyan authorities to take urgent action in accordance with Kenya’s international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:

  • Immediate steps are taken to ensure timely justice for Liz, which includes arresting the five remaining suspects who are still at large so that the case can proceed with them present at the trial now scheduled for 24 June, 2014.
  • Kenya’s criminal justice sector work together more effectively to ensure that the Sexual Offences Act is effectively implemented and that all cases of sexual violence are properly investigated and prosecuted, particularly in Busia County.
  • That the Independent Policing Oversight Authority investigate and report on the allegations of egregious professional misconduct by police officers handling this case, and take necessary lawful action against police failures in this case.  
  • That the training of law enforcement officials is prioritized to ensure that sexual violence complaints are appropriately handled and that they are equipped to deal with survivors and victims of sexual violence by rectifying harmful behaviours that might further distress victim or impede their access to justice.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

How schoolgirls in western Kenya are rising up against FGM and child marriage (Thomson Reuters)

10/11/2013 -- Thomson Reuters -- "How schoolgirls in western Kenya are rising up against FGM and child marriage" Nairobi Office Director Faiza Jama Mohamed on our call to action to the Kenyan government and local county governors to protect girls by enforcing FGM and child marriage laws.

Kenya: Protect girls by enforcing FGM and child marriage laws

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Oct 10
Update: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

31 JULY 2014 UPDATE: In the last seven months, Equality Now and our partners have been greatly encouraged by improved efforts to investigate and enforce Kenya’s 2011 Anti-FGM law and by the increased coverage of the issue in the Kenyan press. In April, the Director of Public Prosecutions created a 20 member Anti-FGM prosecution unit to track cases, educate communities about the law and accelerate prosecutions, particularly in high prevalence areas. Within its first few weeks, the unit brought several cases to court involving parents, circumcisers and a chief who failed to report FGM. The unit hopes that its investigations, prosecutions and community awareness-raising efforts will act as a deterrent to the practice. Additionally, local governments are increasingly receptive to working with civil society organizations to address the issue.

On the national level, Kenyan Parliament members were asked to bring forward a motion to increase penalties for FGM and to thoroughly review existing FGM cases, following a June protest in Kajiado (traditional home of the Maasai) where demonstrators called for the repeal of the FGM law. Kenyan legislators swiftly condemned the protest and re-iterated that violators would be prosecuted. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has also publicly called for Kenya to “achieve zero FGM status.” While there is still extensive work to be done to end FGM in Kenya, these progressive developments and the work of the Anti-FGM Board are showing increased political will to protect girls and women from FGM, locally and nationally. We will continue to update you as the campaign progresses and we thank you for your continued support.


UPDATE 30 JANUARY 2014: Between November and December 2013, Equality Now supported our Kenyan partner Women Rights Institute for Peace in providing shelter to 45 runaway girls at the Sandai rescue centre in Baringo. Happily, the girls are safe and have returned back to school. However, until protective measures are put in place, particularly during FGM mass mutilation seasons, girls in at-risk communities will remain in danger.

In response to advocacy, the Kenyan government took a positive step forward by creating an Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board and appointing the Honourable Linah Jebii Kilimo as Chairperson in December 2013. Hon. Kilimo was instrumental in passing Kenya’s Anti-FGM Bill in 2011 and has been actively working with governmental and non-governmental organizations to eradicate FGM. Equality Now and our partners welcome these developments and urge the government to work closely with the Anti-FGM Board to fulfill its mandate as described in the Prohibition of FGM Act of 2011 (Section 5).

Please continue to call on  Kenyan national and local governments, authorities and the Anti-FGM Board to work together to protect girls by: enforcing laws against FGM and child marriage, educating the public on the harms of these human rights violations, and supporting girls escaping FGM and child marriage.

Thank you for your support.


view as pdf

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please join Equality Now and our partners WRIP and TNI in calling on the national government of Kenya and the local government in Pokot to take urgent action in accordance with Kenya’s international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:

  • Immediate steps are taken to protect, and provide support and shelter to, girls escaping FGM and child marriage and to ensure that at-risk girls are not subjected to FGM at any time and in particular during the school holidays.
  • Laws against FGM and child marriage are effectively implemented with proper investigation and prosecution of violations.
  • All concerned national and local level authorities work together to put into place protective measures within at-risk communities to protect girls from both child marriage and FGM, and to ensure that they are able to continue their education.
  • Awareness-raising and education campaigns are conducted to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and child marriage and acknowledging the practices as human rights violations with harmful consequences.

Letters should go to:

H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta
President of the Republic of Kenya
P.O. Box 30040
Nairobi, Kenya
Email: contact@statehousekenya.go.ke or president@statehousekenya.go.ke

H.E. Ms Anne Waiguru        
Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Devolution and Planning
P. O. Box 30005 - 00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 20 2218475
Email: info@devolutionplanning.go.ke

Hon. Prof Githu Muigai., M.P.
Attorney General
Department of Justice, National Cohesion and
Constitutional Affairs
Harambee Avenue
P.O Box 40112-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 20 315105
Email: info@justice.go.ke

H.E. Dr. Richard Belio Kipsang,
Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Education, Science &Technology
Jogoo House B
Harambee Avenue
P.O. Box 30040
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 20 214 287

Benjamin C Cheboi
Baringo County Governor
P.O Box 53-30400,
Kabarenet, Kenya
Email: governor@baringocounty.go.ke

Simon Kitalei Kachapin
West-Pokot County Governor
PO Box 1 - 30600,
Kapenguria, Kenya
Email: info@westpokot.go.ke

With a copy to: The Kenya Women Parliamentary Association, Email: info@kewopa.org

Letters: 

Dear President/Minister/Governor,

Following reports of Kenyan girls running away from female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, especially during the August and December holidays in the Pokot region, I am deeply concerned about the Kenyan government’s lack of enforcement of its laws against FGM and child marriage.

The Pokot government needs to work within communities to protect and support girls and enforce laws to make sure violations are adequately addressed.

FGM and child marriage are human rights violations and have a host of negative physical and psychological implications for girls and women. Kenya is a party to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa which requires State parties to prohibit both FGM and child marriage and to ensure “protection of women who are at risk of being subjected to harmful practices.” Kenya has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and both the Committees associated with these treaties have called for an end to FGM and child marriage. The Kenyan constitution as well as Kenyan laws such as the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011 and the Children’s Act 2001, ban FGM and child marriage.

I commend the government of Kenya for putting in place legislation on FGM and child marriage and for creating the Anti-FGM Board as important steps toward protecting the rights of Kenyan girls and women. However, despite frequent reports about cases of FGM and child marriage being carried out and girls escaping to avoid these practices, there have been no known investigations or prosecutions to date in the Pokot region, and the government has taken no steps to protect the girls who are running away to avoid being violated. I urge the national government of Kenya and the local government in Pokot to take urgent action in accordance with Kenya’s international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:

  • Immediate steps are taken to protect, and provide support and shelter to, girls escaping FGM and child marriage and to ensure that at-risk girls are not subjected to FGM at any time and in particular during the school holidays.
  • Laws against FGM and child marriage are effectively implemented with proper investigation and prosecution of violations.
  • All concerned national and local level authorities work together to put into place protective measures within at-risk communities to protect girls from both child marriage and FGM, and to ensure that they are able to continue their education.
  • Awareness-raising and education campaigns are conducted to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and child marriage and to acknowledging them as human rights violations with harmful consequences.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

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