November 27, 2021

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Kenya: Government Response to Gender-Based Violence Is Too Little, Too Late

Human Rights Watch will launch a report tomorrow on gender based violence.

“Human right watch is pleased to invite you to a news conference on Tuesday, September 21, at 10:00 a.m. at Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, Kenyafor the launch of its report, “‘I Had Nowhere to Go’: Violence Against Women and Girls During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Kenya.’”

Despite experience with surges in violence against women and girls during crises, Kenya failed to adopt preventative measures to protect women and girls when they instituted a lockdown and nightly curfew to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

This report documents how hardship brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the government’s failure to ensure access to health, economic, and social support services contributed to an increase in sexual and other forms of violence against women and girls.

Human Rights Watch calls on the Kenyan government to uphold its commitment to tackle gender-based violence, and rectify its failure to protect women and girls from violence.

It should set up an effective rights-based framework and social protection system to ensure gender-based violence can be prevented, survivors are protected and can expeditiously access medical and mental health services, alternative accommodation, and justice, even during a crisis.

According to government data, 45 percent of women and girls aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence and 14 percent have experienced sexual violence. Many cases are not reported to authorities and few women get justice or receive medical care.

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