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
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Counsel for ISLA and CREAW
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Communications Officer CREAW).
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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 protected] or call 0720-357-664.
We, the undersigned Women, Women Associations, Women Rights organizations and Gender Equality Advocates in Kenya, being representatives of women in all their diversity including grass root and rural women, women in the informal settlements, women in Business, Women in Professional Bodies and in all Associations and organizations have taken note of the Action taken by the RT. Hon. Chief Justice , David Maraga issued Monday, 21st September 2020 to His Excellency, the President Uhuru Kenyatta in respect to the dissolution of Parliament for its failure to enact legislation to implementation of the two thirds gender rule as provided for in Article 10 (2), Article 27(6) ; Article 81(b) and Article 100 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
The women of Kenya stand in solidarity with the action taken by the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice on dissolution of parliament. The action by Rt. Hon. Chief Justice is timely and takes cognizance of the challenges that women have faced and continue to face in our quest for inclusivity and equality.
We further note that it is the responsibility of each one of us to remain accountable to our Constitution and the Rule of Law.
We further affirm that the drafters of our Constitution were alive to the patriarchal challenges and difficulties in promoting women’s political leadership and representation in our country.
We note the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice’s decision has taken cognizance of the numerous attempts by Parliament to provide a mechanism for actualizing the gender provision anchored in the Constitution. On all these occasions, Parliament has failed to reach a decision and demonstrated a lack of good will and respect for the rule of law.
We note that by advising, H.E. the President to dissolve the 11th Parliament, Rt. Hon. Chief Justice has acted within the bounds set out in the law, and as espoused in Article 261(7) and in furtherance of our democracy and the rule of law.
The women of Kenya are in full support of the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice’s insistence that the Country must hold everyone accountable for their actions or lack thereof. This is as it should be.
We further highlight the four (4) Court Orders that have been issued directing Parliament to implement the two thirds gender rule within clearly specified time lines. We acknowledge the efforts and attempts that both houses of Parliament have taken on the matter. However, we note that these attempts have not resulted to any outcome as envisaged in the Constitution.
We regret the push-back and voices from Parliament that are misleading Kenyans with the false narrative that the ‘two thirds gender rule: Is not part of the mandate of Parliament; that there is no mechanism to implement this provision; and that it is too costly to implement the two third gender rule.
We note that all these narratives are misleading and point to the challenges that we have encountered and have had to endure with parliament in our attempts to push for enactment of a mechanism for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule.
While women welcome the attempts in Parliament to implement Article 100, we wish to point out that this does not in any way provide for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule as it only deals with limits its focus to the existing seats in Parliament.
We reiterate that the spirit of our Constitution envisages an inclusive Kenya in which all citizens including women, youth, persons with disabilities and other marginalized categories have equal opportunity to socially, economically and politically participate fully in the affairs of our country.
We note that the crisis the country finds itself, unlike the COVID-19 pandemic, is self-afflicted and hence its solution is within our reach.
We further reiterate that Implementing the Constitution of Kenya 2010 in its entirety including the two thirds gender rule is a matter of great interest to all Kenyans. Unfortunately, this crisis did not happen yesterday and has been with us for the last ten years.
We emphasize that the time has come for Kenya to entrench constitutionalism and the rule of law. The hall mark of a democracy is its adherence and fidelity to the Rule of Law and Separation of powers between the various arms of government.
We note that the Two Thirds Gender Rule is not about giving seats to women but it is about creating an inclusive and sustainable society in furtherance to its commitment to the SDGs, the Agenda 2063 and the Vision 2030.
We note that while Kenya has made some great advancements in promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality, the country is lagging behind other countries including Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia and Senegal among others who have embraced gender quotas. Kenya is a leader in many respects except in this area of women’s representation.
We stand on the various promises that His Excellency, the President has made to the women of Kenya including his commitment to ensure that Kenyan women enjoy full political, social and economic rights. Mr. President, the Judiciary and parliament have done their part. The ball is now squarely in your court.
We are confident that H.E, the President will assert himself on this matter and provide leadership that will move this Country forward and entrench Constitutionalism.
Finally, we note that all women and men are equal and it’s the obligation of the leadership to ensure that its citizens enjoy all the rights as guaranteed in the Constitution.
his appeal raises novel questions of law on whether vicarious liability can be attributed to the appellant, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) who at the material time had employed Astorikoh Henry Amkoah, (3rd respondent hereinafter referred to as “teacher”) for alleged acts of sexual abuse against the students hereinafter referred to as “WJ” and “LN”).
The Strategic Plan outlines CREAW’s vision and ambitions and key interventions for achieving them. The choices contained in the Plan are largely informed by the lessons learnt, conclusions and recommendations from the analysis of CREAW’s operating context. Drawing from lessons learnt from our past practice, and building on our track record, this Strategic Plan seeks to effectively position CREAW within the emerging operating context as a basis of ensuring greater relevance and effectiveness. The Plan sets out broad parameters that will guide the development of more specific annual work plans and program documents.
CREAW will continue its work towards elimination of gender inequality and all forms of discrimination against women and girls. This is based on our philosophy that empowering women demands that we address unfair cultural norms and attitudes, enhance competencies of women and their institutions and advocate for the development and implementation of progressive legal, policy and institutional frameworks that promote/sustain gender equality.
This strategy is the outcome of a co-creation process between the CREAW Team and several stakeholders. We deeply appreciate their contribution to this process. We especially wish to extend sincere gratitude to our board members, partners and peers for the moral, financial and material support accorded to us during the Strategic Plan development process.
CREAW Strategic Plan — Abridged Version
In light of Ivy Wangechi’s murder and in solidarity with all the victims of femicide in Kenya, we wish to state the following;
Our condolences go out to the families, friends and all those who knew Ivy Wangechi. Her killing comes at a time when Kenya is grappling with high prevalence of cases of femicide perpetrated by men; such must never be tolerated in the society. The Bill of Rights protects human life and no reason whatsoever justifies the wanton killings targeting women witnessed across counties.
The normalization of violence by Kenyans on social media and other public spaces is a dehumanization of the victims and is insensitive to their legacy and the trauma of those affected; family, friends and by extension, the women of Kenya. Further, it creates a culture of victim shaming and blaming which permits violence to thrive. Love is not equal to death (#Love≠Death). This has to come to an end.
Femicides, should not be normalized, there has to be deliberate action by all Kenyans to end violence against women. We call on the President of Kenya to declare femicide and other forms of Gender Based Violence a national disaster and commit to addressing it. We also call upon the Director of Criminal Investigations to speed up investigations in all ongoing femicides cases and bring perpetrators to book.
The recent occurrences of the killings and wanton loss of lives in unclear circumstances of women and girls is horrifying and a determinant of lack of respect to the constitutional provisions of respect to human life. Women and girls like many other citizens ought to be valued and not subjected to the grievous acts that endangers or take away their right to life as we have seen in the recent weeks.
We take note of the recent gruesome murder of Monica Kimani in her Kilimani apartment. Her killing adds up to the numerous cases of killings of women and girls that have been witnessed across the counties. On September 4, Kenya woke up to the news that the body of Sharon Otieno, a Rongo University Student was found dumped in Kodera Forest, Homabay County. She was heavily pregnant at the time.
On September 6, Maribel Kapolon a 9 years old daughter of the Githongo Court Senior Margistrate Caroline Kimei was abducted and subsequently murdered in unclear circumstances. Even though two suspects are in police custody, nothing much has been done by the police to unearth those who killed her. In Meru County specifically, such killings are not new to residents, the abductions in broad daylight and subsequent killings have become the order of the day. A week before Maribel’s body was found in Gitoro forest, a 10-year-old boy was struggled to death in Karama, Tigania West. On September 16, a middle-aged woman’s body was discovered in the same area with some body parts missing. This demonstrates heightened cases of insecurity across the country. We consider this as intentional killings against women and girls.
The Center for Rights Education and Awareness has noted with great concern the repetitive nature into which this killings are conducted and despite the complaints being registered with the police immediately there seems to be laxity among the security organs is in dealing with such cases. As an organization that prides itself in the protection of the rights of women and girls and in the promotion of a society free of violence against women and girls, we say enough is enough.
CREAW therefore demands the following:
1) THAT the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinet, Director of Criminal Investigations, and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution act with speed and ensure the killings are pursued to conclusion and the culprits apprehended.
2) THAT the Chief Justice David Maraga together with all relevant arms of the government of Kenya recognizes gender based violence as a cancer in our society and proceed to set up special courts to prosecute cases of gender based violence.
3) THAT the Judiciary as the custodians of justice continues to prioritize gender based violence cases and meet out strict sentences in accordance to the Sexual Offences Act and other statutes.
4) Finally, we ask that all Kenyans continue to hold sacred the rights provided by our Constitution and speak out against gender-based violence whenever it occurs in our society. We must all assume responsibility to end all forms of violence against women in Kenya. That we will come out to strongly condemn such acts whenever they arise.
As CREAW we remain vigilant in the call for justice not only for the families affected but also to the departed souls. Such grievous killings meted on women and girls must not be accepted in our communities. As a country, we have a duty to preserve the life of every citizen regardless of his or her gender, race of social status. We extend our deepest condolences to the families affected. We will lend our support to ensure justice is done.
Executive Director, CREAW
For more information, please email us on [email protected]