Pursuing justice for survivors of sexual and gender based violence. ACORD Kenya launches policy brief on reparations mechanism
Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in Kenya has reached alarming heights. Not a day passes without related cases being reported in the most obvious means: the media. Numerous other cases go unreported in the communities. The sad reality is that most of these cases are resolved hurriedly and informally to avoid the shame and stigma that comes with sexual violence.
Numerous legal provisions exist towards addressing SGBV. They provide for both punitive and restorative justice. Reparations are a concept that has been in existence quietly in the Kenyan laws. ”There is an urgent need to begin utilizing provisions that already exist to ensure victims of sexual violence are effectively compensated. If well implemented, reparations will also serve as a deterrent for offenders”, says Emmah Nungari, ACORD Kenya Country Director.
On 3 April 2014, ACORD launched a policy brief: “Our Bare Minimum: A comprehensive reparations mechanism for sexual and gender based violence survivors in Kenya” that details the effects of SGBV and provide specific recommendations. The launch happened in the presence of the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Joyce Laboso.
- Sensitizing judicial officers on the provisions of the law that provide for any form of reparations such as monetary compensation and free treatment on government hospitals. This will lead to many judgments that not only provide for punishment of the offender but also reparation for the survivor.
- Revision of the training curriculum of the police recruits to include a complete module on sexual and gender based violations.
- Sensitivity and privacy in investigating and prosecuting SGBV cases.
- Accurate recording of cases reported.
- Adequate preservation of evidence by the police.
- Pro-activeness and gender sensitivity of the National Assembly in debating and passing of the SGBV related bills.
- Development of, in consultation with all the stakeholders and survivors of SGBV, a national reparations policy.
- Ensuring availability of regular, comprehensive hard data specific to sexual and gender based violations in Kenya.
- Fast track the establishment of one-stop Gender-Based Violence (GBV) centers with trauma counseling facilities countrywide.
- Formalizing the setting-aside of sensitized personnel and cubicles for treating SGBV survivors in all government hospitals.
The policy brief has been greatly informed by the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (GA 2005) and the 2007 Nairobi Declaration on Women’s and Girls’ Right to a Remedy and Reparation.
ACORD has been working to stop impunity for sexual and gender based violence in Kenya and countries of the Great Lakes region since 2009. Previously ACORD has published judicial audits and reparations studies and the award winning documentary “Hidden War Crimes”. ACORD was also called upon as an expert organisation in Kenya’s Truth Justice and Reconciliation Hearings on the subject of sexual violence.
Download policy brief: “Our bare minimum: A comprehensive reparations mechanism for sexual and gender based violence survivors in Kenya”
Download the report “Making the law count: Kenya: an audit of legal practice on sexual violence”: A review of legal practice on sexual violence in Kenya, looking at what national laws deal with sexual violence; how judges and other court officials interpret the law; police attitude to sexual violence; role of health institutions. The review includes recommendations for civil society advocacy to improve the response to sexual violence.
Download the report “Pursuing justice for sexual and gender based violence in Kenya: summary of reparations options”. Report on options for improving the legal system for responding to SGBV, in particular on establishing compensation mechanisms for survivors.
Watch the documentary film: “Hidden War Crimes”: This ACORD documentary aims to show why tackling Sexual and Gender Based Violence requires a holistic methodology from awareness creation to soliciting political will, changing laws, arresting perpetrators, to healing and economic empowerment of women survivors. This cannot be achieved without changed attitudes in society.