Kenya: Justice for Post-Election Rape Survivors

(file photo).
11 December 2020

Nairobi — In a landmark judgment, the High Court in Kenya ruled that the Kenyan government failed to effectively investigate and prosecute sexual crimes from the 2007-2008 post-election violence and issued monetary awards to four petitioners.

A 2016 Human Rights Watch report documented the cases of 163 women and girls and 9 men who had survived rape.

The attackers included militia group members, humanitarian workers, and members of Kenya's security forces. Survivors endured horrific violence, including rape, gang rape, and being penetrated with guns, sticks, bottles, and other objects in attacks in which they were also badly beaten.

Kenyan authorities have largely ignored and failed to support rape survivors, and have only convicted a handful of individuals for sex crimes related to the post-election violence.

In 2014, President Uhuru Kenyatta committed to establish a fund to help victims of past injustices, including victims of the 2007 political violence, but this did not benefit post-election violence rape survivors.

"The Kenyan High Court's ruling is a win for the thousands of women and girls - and men and boys - who have waited for years for Kenyan authorities to acknowledge the harm that they suffered, and to provide appropriate redress," said Agnes Odhiambo, senior women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"The Kenyan government should fulfill the awards given in this case, and take immediate steps to provide other survivors of post-election sexual violence with medical care, monetary compensation, and other remedies."

The women were allegedly raped during the 2007/08 Post Election Violence following a disputed presidential election which more than 1,500 people were killed and over half a million others displaced from their homes.

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