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On International Women’s Day, PHR Demands Accountability for Kenyan Victims of Sexual Violence

For Immediate Release

As the world observes International Women’s Day and celebrates advances made by women and girls, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is expressing deep concern over the lack of accountability for victims of sexual violence in Kenya. Nearly a decade after the outbreak of sexual violence following the 2007 presidential election, Kenya continues to fail survivors who demand, and are legally entitled to, comprehensive medical and psychological care, effective accountability, and reparations.

“The absence of meaningful investigations and prosecutions has led to a climate where perpetrators, including security officers, continue to feel emboldened to prey upon women and girls,” said Tina Alai, PHR’s head of office in Kenya. “On International Women’s Day, we call on the Kenyan government to immediately implement measures to effectively prevent, mitigate, and respond to the scourge of sexual violence.”

Kenya faced a political crisis in 2007 which led to a period of extreme violence and serious human rights violations, including widespread sexual violence. Many of the attacks were committed by police officers and other men in uniform. In 2013, PHR, with local NGO partners and eight survivors of the post-election sexual violence submitted a petition to the Constitutional and Human Rights Division in the High Court of Kenya in Nairobi seeking to hold the state accountable for its failure to prevent the sexual attacks against civilians, meaningfully investigate and prosecute perpetrators, and provide timely medical and psychological care to victims.

“We are now marking the fifth anniversary of our initiation of the court case,” said Alai. “The government, despite all of its promises, has yet to take any tangible steps toward justice. Given the government’s failure to dedicate sufficient attention, resources, and infrastructure to combatting the problem, Kenya runs a serious risk of normalizing sexual violence.”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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