Adolescent girls

Egypt launches first prosecution for female genital mutilation after girl dies (Guardian)

3/14/2014 -- The Guardian -- "Egypt launches first prosecution for female genital mutilation after girl dies" On the case of 13-year-old Sohair Al-Batea who died after Dr. Raslan Fadl allegedly performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on her at her father’s request in a clinic north-east of Cairo.

Sudan: Change the law – allow victims of sexual violence to access justice

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2014 Mar 13
Update: 

10 APRIL 2015 UPDATE: HUGE VICTORY! The Sudanese penal code was amended and signed by the President (22 February) so that victims of rape will no longer be charged with adultery and/or committing “immoral acts.” Equality Now has been working with partners in Sudan and through the SOAWR Coalition since 2012 to amend the discriminatory provisions in the 1991 Sudanese Criminal Code so that women and girls would not be punished for crimes against them and so that survivors would not be discouraged from reporting cases of rape. In this case, the knowledge we applied from a similar hard won victory on rape and public order laws in Pakistan was instrumental in helping Sudanese groups push for change.

Specifically addressing the lack of clarity and guidance in the law that was resulting in the re-victimization of survivors, Article 149 of the Criminal Code now includes a rape definition that meets international standards. Additionally, Article 151 of the Criminal Act was amended to include a new element criminalizing sexual harassment. And thanks to the combined efforts of the campaign and supporters in Sudan, the case against the young woman appears to have been dropped by the government. She has attained necessary legal immigration status in the country and is raising a healthy son who was born in June 2014.

We are greatly encouraged by this victory and will continue to work to ensure equal access to justice for women and girls. Thank you for your support!

To learn more about the work to reform legislation on rape and sexual violence in Sudan, read our report produced in conjunction with Sudanese women’s rights crusader, Dr. Muna Eltayeb M. Eltayeb, and published thanks to the generous support of the NEPAD Spanish Fund for African Women’s Empowerment.


11 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE: Following our calls on government officials and our June submission to the Human Rights Committee, the State has since provided the young woman with medical attention (she gave birth in June). Additionally, she no longer faces deportation as the immigration charges were suspended. Equality Now continues to pursue all angles to ensure justice for the young survivor and an amendment of Sudan’s rape and public order laws.

Please continue to lend your voice to the call for all criminal charges against her to be dropped. 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.

Join Equality Now in calling for justice for all survivors and victims of sexual violence in Sudan.
Please take urgent action today by writing to the officials below to demand that:

  • The prosecution drop all criminal charges against the young woman, and cease any legal action to deport her to Ethiopia.
  • The young woman is promptly provided with adequate medical and psychological support as a victim and survivor of sexual violence.
  • Immediate steps are taken to amend the Sudan Criminal Act of 1991 and the Sudan Evidence Act of 1994 to prevent the criminalization of sexual violence victims, and to ensure that women and girls who have been raped receive equal protection under the law in accordance with Sudan’s international obligations.

President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Office of the President
People’s Palace
PO Box 281
Khartoum, Sudan

H.E. Mohammed Bushara Dousa
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Justice Towers
Gamhoria Street
PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan
Email: moj@moj.gov.sd

H.E. Fatih Ezzidin Ahmed Speaker of the National Assembly
The Peoples Hall Omdurman
PO Box 14416, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: 00249 187 560 950 Emails: info@parliament.gov.sd
sudanipg@parliament.gov.sd

H.E. Mashair Aldawalab
Minster of Welfare & Social Security
Ministry of Welfare & Social Security (General Directorate for Women & Family Affairs)
PO Box: 12661
Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: 83777633
Emails: info@gdwfa.gov.sd

H.E. Ali Ahmed Karti
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PO Box 873
Khartoum, Sudan

Letters: 

Dear President/Minister/Speaker,

I am deeply concerned by the overwhelming challenges women and girls face when seeking justice   for rape and sexual violence in Sudan. I am particularly disturbed by the brutal August 2013 gang rape of a 19-year-old pregnant and divorced Ethiopian woman by seven men in Omdurman. I was outraged to learn that a victim of sexual violence was re-victimized by the very judicial system that should be seeking justice for her. This was tragically demonstrated by her arrest alongside the perpetrators who raped her, her detainment, the various charges levied against her, and her subsequent guilty charge and sentence for committing indecent acts. This case highlights the tremendous challenges victims face victims and the urgent need for legal reform, especially to article 149 of the criminal code referring to rape.

Under current laws, when a woman or girl reports she has been raped, she also exposes herself to possible prosecution. Effectively, a victim has to prove her own innocence by demonstrating that the encounter was non-consensual. If she fails to do so, she is liable to be prosecuted for adultery (zina). The law lacks clear guidelines on its interpretation and implementation, which allows judges wide discretion that is often unjust to victims seeking redress through the criminal justice system. In this case, even with filmed evidence of the rape, the victim was still found guilty of indecent acts. All these factors, combined with the traumatic stigma and fear of community reprisals, often deter women and girls from reporting crimes of sexual violence and make it very difficult for them to achieve justice even if they do.

Sudan is obligated in its interim constitution of 2005 and under several international conventions to ensure that men and women are treated equally under the law and to prevent victims from being criminalized. The Interim National Constitution of the Republic of Sudan in article 28 of its Bill of Rights states that “Every human being has the inherent right to life, dignity and the integrity of his/her person, which shall be protected by law” and in article 31 that “all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination, as to . . . sex . . . to the equal protection of the law.” Both the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) echo these rights and state, “(1) Every individual shall be equal before the law and (2) Every individual shall be entitled to equal protection of the law.” The African Charter and the ICCPR prohibit “cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment,” but Sudan violates this article when it punishes sexual violence victims by charging them with adultery.

I join Equality Now in calling for justice for all survivors and victims of sexual violence in Sudan. I urge Sudanese authorities to take urgent action in accordance with Sudan’s international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:

  • The prosecution drops all criminal charges against the young woman, and ceases any legal action to deport her to Ethiopia.
  • The young woman is promptly provided with adequate medical and psychological support as a victim and survivor of sexual violence.
  • Immediate steps are taken to amend the Sudan Criminal Act of 1991 and the Sudan Evidence Act of 1994 to prevent the criminalization of sexual violence victims, and to ensure that women and girls who have been raped receive equal protection under the law in accordance with Sudan’s international obligations.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

When Girls Are Part of the Solution Everyone Benefits (Huffington Post)

3/7/2014 -- Huffington Post -- "When Girls Are Part of the Solution Everyone Benefits" New York office Director Lauren Hersh on Project Impact, an arts-based leadership workshop for teen trafficking survivors.

Ending child marriage helps break cycle of violence and discrimination (Girls Not Brides)

2/18/2014 -- Girls Not Brides -- "Ending child marriage helps break cycle of violence and discrimination"

Liloe was 14 when she fled to the Tasaru Rescue Centre in Narok, Kenya to escape #FGM and early marriage. Staff from the centre, which is supported by Equality Now, with funds from Comic Relief, arranged a reconciliation with her family and her mother made a promise not to mutilate her or marry her off.

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

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2014 Jan 22
Update: 

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

13 APRIL 2015 UPDATE: SUCCESS!! This morning, the Busia courts convicted the three accused for both gang rape and causing grevious harm. They have been sentenced to 15 and 7 years for the respective crimes. Thank you to everyone for keeping up the pressure!

Liz has finally gotten justice and her case will hopefully continue to be a wake-up call for all. We hope that it can also be used to highlight the gaps in policies and procedures. Authorities must be held accountable and we must continue to push for safe environments for girls, where sexual violence is not tolerated and is punished to the fullest extent of the law.


25 MARCH 2015 UPDATE: Liz's trial continued on March 6th and the prosecution rested its case. The trial will resume on March 30th - 31st, during which the defense is expected to present its case.


27 FEBRUARY 2015 UPDATE: Further witness testimony was presented at the 5-6 February court session. The next session is currently scheduled for 6 March, where the prosecution will have additional testimony.


5 DECEMBER 2014 UPDATE: Continued progress! A third suspect was arrested and charged just prior to the latest trial hearing in Liz’s case, which resumed 27 – 28 November (the remaining three suspects will be charged in a new case when they are apprehended). The father of one of the suspects was also charged for helping his son to evade capture. Eight witnesses testified, including the medical expert and Liz, who turned 17 in October. For the purposes of the trial, Liz was deemed a “vulnerable witness” which is a sign of progress towards proper implementation of Kenya’s Sexual Offenses Act – one of our campaign calls. This allowed for victim-sensitive measures, including testifying with an intermediary present, to help protect her dignity and lessen further trauma. The two special prosecutors nominated by civil society continue to be present and participate in the trial as members of the prosecutorial team. The next court session was scheduled for 5-6 February 2015.

On 3 December, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations also resumed their investigation of the additional 70 sexual violence cases from Busia County and Western Kenya compiled by our partners REEP Kenya and IPAS Africa Alliance. This was evidently prompted by a recent Equality Now letter asking for concrete action and a progress update. We have also reached out to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority for an update on the investigation into the conduct of the police officers that mishandled the initial reports made by Liz and her family.


10 OCTOBER 2014 UPDATE: Though Liz’s case has been adjourned until November 2014, progress continues in the case as well as to address sexual violence in Busia County/Western Kenya. In late September the DPP announced that a second perpetrator had been apprehended and placed in juvenile prison. Additionally, in late August specially trained investigators were sent to Busia to begin looking into the 70 additional rape cases compiled by our partners, with several arrests soon following. At the same time, the National Gender and Equity Commission began its own investigation in Busia to better understand the gaps and persistent problems. The Commission held closed hearings with 100s of survivors of sexual violence - many referred by REEP – and also met with magistrates, chiefs, religious officers, government officials and the children’s office to discuss the issue. Equality Now and our partners are greatly encouraged by these positive developments. Please continue to support the #JusticeforLiz campaign!


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.


 

 

 

view as pdf

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. 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

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

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

Hon. Joseph Nkaissery
Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government
Harambee House, Harambee Avenue, P.0. Box 30510-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
ps.interior@kenya.go.ke, ps.pais@kenya.go.ke

Letters: 

Dear President/Minister/Governor,

I am deeply concerned about the 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, three 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. 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. 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.

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.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Give the gift of protection to a girl in Yemen–in 30 seconds (Too Young To Wed)

12/23/2013 -- Too Young To Wed -- "Give the gift of protection to a girl in Yemen–in 30 seconds" 2Y2W features our petition calling on the government of Yemen to enact a law establishing a minimum age of marriage.

Ending Violence against Adolescent Girls in Zambian Schools (UNGEI blog)

12/6/1213 -- UNGEI blog -- "Ending Violence against Adolescent Girls in Zambian Schools" Program Officer (Sexual Violence and Trafficking) Caroline Muthoni Muriithi talks about our project in Zambia to address sexual violence against girls:

Yemen to Finally Ban Child Marriage? (The Daily Beast)

11/20/1213 -- The Daily Beast -- "Yemen to Finally Ban Child Marriage?" Middle East/ North Africa Consultant Suad Abu-Dayyeh on recent developments in Yemen.

Syndicate content