Tuesday, 25 March 2014

State ‘failed poll chaos sex victims’

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights CEO Patricia Nyaundi at a past event.
A rights watchdog has accused the government of discriminating against the survivors of sexual violence in the 2007/08 post-election violence.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chief executive officer told a Nairobi court on Tuesday that the government failed to address the survivors’ cases.
Ms Patricia Nyaundi said during an emotional hearing of a petition by the survivors of sexual and gender- based violence that the government had discriminated against the survivors despite evidence that they were abused by security officers.
“Those who perpetrated sexual violence on vulnerable women are walking free, yet the government has done nothing to help their stigma. I do not understand why they are being discriminated against when those displaced during the violence have been compensated,” said Ms Nyaundi.
She took the court through the time she worked at the Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida) and the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission during which she got first hand testimonies of women who had been sexually abused.
“I received many calls from women and men who had been subjected to rape, sodomy and forceful circumcision. Some said they had been abused by police officers.”
Ms Nyaundi said she participated in preparing the Waki Commission and the TJRC reports which detailed how police officers deployed in the violence hot-spots to protect the vulnerable turned out to be the perpetrators.
She testified that the government violated the victims’ right to life since it had prior information of violence during the 2007 election but failed to take measures to stop it.
According to her, it is unfortunate that the government has only considered compensating and settling the internally displaced when survivors of sexual violence continue to suffer without any medical support.
She said it was disheartening to come across women who had their genitals raptured and others who contracted HIV.
“Why should somebody walk in that state when the government has an obligation to take care of them? The sexual violence meted on victims is punishable by life imprisonment, but the priority of survivors is not the conviction but to get help,” said Ms Nyaundi.
She was testifying in a case in which eight survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, the Coalition on Violence Against Women, the Independent Medico-Legal Unit, the International Commission of Jurists and Physicians for Human Rights have sued the government.
The hearing continues.

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