On 17th May 2022, Hon. Justice Odunga of the Machakos High Court ruled that the mandatory minimum sentences provided by the Sexual Offences Act for sexual offences are unconstitutional and that they limit the discretion of the court to determine the appropriate sentence to impose. Consequently, various courts across Kenya are now faced with an overwhelming number of applications for resentencing by prisoners previously convicted of sexual offences. This precedent claws back on the gains made by women rights movements over the years to ensure that gender-based violence is treated with the urgency and weight it deserves.
MEDIA STATEMENTState Obligation To Protect Rape Survivors – July 2022
For Immediate ReleaseLitigation on Failure of State to Fulfil its Due Diligence Obligation to Investigate Sexual Offences: Unconstitutionality of Out of Court Settlements Initiated by State Actors Nairobi, Kenya Yesterday, 5th July 2022, the Centre for Rights Education & Awareness (CREAW) and IW, a rape survivor, appeared before the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court of Kenya, HCCHR PET E416/2021 – IW & Centre for Rights Education & Awareness (CREAW) vs the Attorney General, Inspector General of Police and others. The complainants seek to hold the state accountable for the failure to fulfil its obligations to investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of violence against women. In particular, this case seeks to address a common but understated challenge in the criminal justice system where survivors of sexual violence are not adequately supported by state agents but coerced into entering into settlement agreements with perpetrators. This case seeks to create a wider social impact in the criminal justice system in Kenya where out of court settlements in cases of gender- based violence are rampant. Of specific concern is the role that State actors such as the police play in propagating these out of court settlements which empower perpetrators of violence and leave the victim/survivor grappling with the aftermath of the violence. This creates a culture of rape and impunity in the society. In our submissions, we set out the core components of an effective investigation and standards the role of the police in protecting victims of violence in the criminal justice system. We submitted that the investigation by the police in this case did not meet the threshold for a proper investigation. In response to the Attorney General’s argument that the Inspector General of Police cannot be held liable for the actions of the investigating officer, we argued that the Inspector General of Police can be held accountable for the actions of the police officers who act in their capacity as a police officer and employees of the National Police Service. The judgment will be issued on 17th November 2022 before Hon. Justice Mrima.
The applicants were represented by Winfred Odali who is an alumni of ISLA’s Feminist Litigation Network. The Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) is acting as advisor to counsel. ISLA’s Feminist Litigation Network (FLN) aims to develop a pool of African feminist strategic litigators. ISLA achieves this by investing in partner organisations and a raft of capacity strengthening activities such as the strategic litigation institute. She works as a Strategic Litigation Advocate in CREAW where she is steadily developing a portfolio of cases to hold the state accountable for the failure to protect women from violence, among others. This was her maiden appearance before the Constitutional Division. Join the conversation on social media by following: #EndImpunityforVAW #EndVAW For further enquiries kindly contact: Sibongile Ndashe ISLA Acting Litigation DirectorSibongile@the-isla.org
Winfred Odali CREAW Strategic Litigation AdvocateWinfred.Odali@creawkenya.org
We are delighted to be among the finalists for the The Womanity Foundation Awards.
This partnership with CREAW Kenya and CARE Kenya/Rwanda will support the adaptation of the Indashyikirwa (Agents for Change)- an Intimate Partner Violence prevention program originally implemented in Rwanda.
The programme will work with couples to reduce intimate partner violence (IPV) and improve the wellbeing of survivors by shifting attitudes, behaviours and norms that drive IPV. It is also aimed at strengthening the evidence base for community GBV prevention and response.
“We have a big gap when it comes to prevention of violence against women and girls in Kenya, a lot of emphasis has been on response. The adaptation of the Indashyikirwa program therefore provides us with an opportunity to scale-up interventions and address violence affecting women and girls in the households and by large, at the Country level.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28 April 2021
#Sitanyamazishwa: Constitutional Petition in the Employment and Labour Relations Court seeking redress for the violation of a former employee’s constitutional rights and sexual harassment
On 28 April 2021, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) and the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa have filed a petition for redress against RILEY SERVICES LTD to seek amends for violation of her Constitutional rights and sexual harassment.
In February 2018, a woman who was working as a security guard at Riley Security Services was sexually harassed by a senior manager in the building where she was assigned to guard. Riley Security Services was a service provider assigned to the Harambee Sacco Plaza. She reported the incident to the Head of Security in the building who advised her to report to her employer and the police. She reported the matter to the police who kept the matter pending under investigation. She further reported the incident to her employer who did not take any steps to provide amends for the violation she had endured. She was subsequently moved from her workplace, together with all the guards she was supervising, and was assigned administrative duties and her salary was reduced. Despite various pleas for redress, the employer only frustrated her and eventually asked her to leave employment.
A Constitutional Petition has been brought forward in the Employment and Labour Relations Court seeking redress for the violation of her rights. She seeks the horizontal application of her constitutional rights against her employer. Furthermore, the application seeks to expand the applicability of the law on sexual harassment to other persons within the employer’s control, even if not its employees. The petition seeks to ask the court to determine whether the employer and the alleged perpetrator failed to protect and uphold employee’s fundamental rights particularly, the right to equality and freedom from discrimination, right to human dignity, right to fair labour practices, and the right to fair administrative action.
“We believe that this case is not just about the violation of the client’s human rights but about the fiduciary responsibility of organisation’s to ensure the safety of their employees from sexual harassment from their clients”, said Advocate Beatrice Njeri
The Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) is acting as advisors to counsel to the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) as part of the women’s economic and social rights programmatic intervention. CREAW is a national feminist women’s rights Non-Governmental Organization whose vision is to contribute to a just society where women and girls enjoy their full rights and live in dignity. Their mission is to champion, expand and actualize women’s and girls’ rights and social justice. In all proceedings, ISLA and CREAW will be represented by Advocate Beatrice Njeri who will be working with an alumnus of ISLA’s Feminist Litigation Network (FLN) Advocate Carolene Kituku. The case will be filed on Wednesday, 28 April 2021 in the Court of Kenya at the Nairobi Milimani Law Courts.
Join the conversation on social media by following:
Hashtag: #Sitanyamazishwa #WhoProtectsUs
For further enquiries kindly contact:
Tel: +254 720 230 206
Counsel for ISLA and CREAW
Tel: +254 71 026 1408
Communications Officer CREAW).
Cell: +254 724 961 386
One week ago, the public were shocked by the disdainful comments made by former Homeboyz Radio Station presenters during a breakfast show aired on 25th of March, 2021. The comments condoned gender-based violence and placed the survivor at fault.
When a woman, or indeed, any other person survives gender-based violence, they expect empathy and justice and not blame, shame and stigma meant to further re-traumatize and stifle their voices into silence. Public broadcasting stations must not be used as a platform to victim shame. We call on Home Boyz and all broadcasting stations to take note of the Constitutional provision that requires the media to be responsible in their coverage of matters that touch on the safety, security and wellbeing of women and girls.
In the wake of the Home Boyz experience, we demand that all media houses adopt gender and zero violence tolerance policies that categorically provide for redress of violations, address gender biases and provide for balanced news reportage and media content.
Homeboyz situation is not an isolated case. In recent times sexism and misogynistic conversations have openly supported, made jokes, or sensationalized violence against women and girls, often diverting public attention from the perpetrators of such acts or not holding them accountable for their actions. Such actions only serve to perpetuate misogyny and discourages many victims from reporting cases of violence out of fear that they might be blamed for the harm meted on them or further victimized.
Any actions that promote or justify sexual violence do not stem sexual harassment and violence nationally. The mass media must play its role in eradicating the silent pandemic. During the corona pandemic, GBV cases have increased by 42 per cent. In this country, 47 per cent of women compared to three per cent men experience some form of Gender Based Violence. This violence also costs Kenya at Ksh 29 billion annually.
While supporting the rapid actions taken by the East African Breweries, Radio Africa Group management and the Communication Authority of Kenya, we urge the mass media industry to take up their critical and powerful role of promoting and protecting human rights.
Further, we call upon the media industry to:
We stand ready to work with media houses in Kenya to boost their responsibility in reporting on human rights violations and sensitize presenters/hosts on gender responsive broadcasting. We note that the issues surrounding the incident are layered and will require numerous actors to address and this, therefore, offers an impetus for accelerated efforts on the same.
This statement has been issued by four human rights organizations namely Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), Amnesty International Kenya, Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) and the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW).
COVAW is an organization that focuses on influencing sustained engagement on violations conducted against women and girls in Kenya, with a focus on Gender Based Violence.
Amnesty International Kenya is an organization dedicated to securing human rights all over the world. Amnesty International Kenya works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.
AMWIK is a non-profit membership organization for women journalists and communicators in Kenya. AMWIK is committed to enhancing the status of women in Kenya and Africa. AMWIK seeks to use the media to promote an informed and gender responsive society through a professional and transformative media in Kenya and Africa.
CREAW is a duly registered, national feminist women’s rights non-governmental organization whose vision is a just society where women and girls enjoy full rights and live in dignity.
We are deeply appalled by the information going round on social media platforms about sexual assault and the gruesome murder of Velvine Nungari Kinyanjui allegedly by one Anthony Njenga Murimi. Our deepest condolences to Velvine’s family and friends.
As an organization that has committed itself to the promotion of the rights of women and girls, the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) notes with concern that while Velvine’s case is not an isolated one; countless number of women and girls across the country have become subjects to gender-motivated killings, sexual violence including rape, female genital mutilations, and sexual harassment in the households, communities, workplaces and by extension public spaces. As many as seven in ten women in various parts of the country report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, most of them at the hands of intimate partners.
Data from CREAW shows that by the end of 2020, cases of violence against women and girls across Kenya had risen by 64% amidst the pandemic. The statistics that are further affirmed by the National Crime Research Center report 2020 which recorded a 92% increase in cases of GBV between January and June 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. These statistics demonstrates that violence against women and girls continue to go unabated despite the Constitutional provisions that upholds the rights of all Kenyans, women and girls included.
We welcome the actions by the National Police Service (NPS), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Criminal Investigations (ODPP) in apprehending Velvine’s alleged assailant (Anthony Njenga Murimi), however we demand that speedy investigations be done and the culprit be charged for nothing less than murder for the life of Velvine. The Judiciary should ensure that the case is heard and determined and that the perpetrator is fully made accountable for the heinous act. We shall remain vigilant until justice is done for Velvine, one life lost is one too many other lives lost in our communities. She was loved, she was cared for. We are missing a life, a sister, a daughter, a friend, stolen from our hearts and our minds. Femicide is unacceptable!
In all, CREAW stands in solidarity with all survivors and victims of femicide and other forms of GBV and call on the government to break their silence on the “shadow pandemic” and honour their obligation as outlined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 to end violence against women and girls.
We are also cognisant that, survivors voices continue to be stifled by the patriarchal notions and societal stigma; a matter that has left many survivors wallowing in pain and hopelessness. We are calling on individuals and communities to rise beyond the gender biases, play their part and take action to liberate women and girls from all forms of violence.
About the Center for Rights Education and Awareness
Founded in 1999, the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) is a national feminist organization driving change for equal societies in Kenya. We place women and girls at the center of our actions to end inequality and realize social justice. We question political, social, economic, legal, cultural and religious structures that silences the voices and agency of women and girls in Kenya.
CREAW envisions a just society where women and girls enjoy full rights and live in dignity. We believe in the equality of rights, with empowerment and justice made available for every woman and girl. We stand for, ensuring women and girls have Power, Voice and Agency. For more information on CREAW, please visit: www.creawkenya.org
For more information please contact email@example.com or call 0720-357-664.