ALP participates in United Nations 48th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – Geneva.

BRIEF on ALP’s participation to the 48th Session of reporting on CEDAW COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN CONSIDERS REPORT OF KENYA

On 17th January NGO’s had an opportunity to present oral statements before the CEDAW Committee.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women met with non-governmental organizations to discuss the situation of the rights of women in Israel, Kenya, Lichtenstein and South Africa. As part of its work, the Committee invites non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions to provide information and documentation relevant to the Committee’s activities.
Representatives of non-governmental organizations from Kenya said that women and girls in slums and informal settlements lived under the constant threat of sexual violence, largely because there was a lack of sanitary conditions in these areas and women were exposed to violence when they went to the latrine. The Government had not systematically addressed these issues, nor had it addressed inequality and gender discrimination in land and housing practices. Inheritance and land distribution in rural areas were often governed by traditional practices and customary biases against women, especially in rural areas. It was also noted that the Kenyan Government was taking far too long to pass and implement critical laws to protect the rights of women such as the Equality Bill and the Family Protection Bill, among others. Poor participation by women in public life and post election violence were also of great concern.

19 January 2011

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has considered the seventh periodic report of Kenya on how that country implements the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
AIDS Law Project, together with other local NGO’s from Kenya participated in preparing the oral statement as well as in a lunch briefing with the United Nations CEDAW Committee in Geneva.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has considered the seventh periodic report of Kenya on how that country implements the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Kenya reported that the Constitution addressed the historical injustices and inequities experienced by women. More fundamentally, the new constitution embraced all the principles of CEDAW. It was a progressive, comprehensive and all encompassing document. It expanded while guaranteeing the nation’s commitment to gender equality, through provisions that countered customary law restrictions on the individual rights and the fundamental freedoms of women that were the hallmark of the old constitutional order.

Questions and issues raised by Experts during the interactive discussion included human trafficking and sexual exploitation, the involvement of women in political and public life, access to education and healthcare for women and girls, sexual offences and gender-based violence against women, and the status of legislation before parliament dealing with family rights. Committee members also asked what was being done to abolish gender stereotypes and what resources were allocated to the Ministry of Gender and other women’s rights mechanisms in the country. The delegation was also asked to provide information on the role of women in post-conflict peace building and the role of traditional courts and customary laws and the impact they had on women and their enjoyment of equal rights. Sexual and reproductive health and access to water and sanitation for women in urban and rural areas were also topics for discussion.

Lunch briefing with Committee members:
During the lunch meeting the NGO’s called for commitment by government in passing the family laws which will go a long way to protect women’s rights. ALP specifically encouraged greater attention to the sexual and reproductive health rights of women who were HIV infected. The necessity of providing for economic, social and cultural rights for women was emphasised.

Specific recommendations made by ALP to the CEDAW Committee included:

• The implementation of family laws to guarantee protection from all forms of discrimination.
• Access to sexual and reproductive health services for women who are HIV infected.
• Implementation of the HIV Tribunal, thorough budgetary allocation for the Tribunal to provide a complaint mechanism for human rights violations affecting women infected or affected by HIV.

an a mechanism for complaints- the HIV Tribunal, but the government has not been committed in its efforts to protect women evidently shown by appointing tribunal members and giving no budgetary allocation to run the tribunal!

In conclusion, the CEDAW Committee commended the various bills that had been undertaken to address gender-based violence, access to education, and other issues of equality. A window had been opened, but they needed to open a door which included the full implementation of the new constitution and the enactment of a host of bills that were pending passage. They further urged the State to accede to the Optional Protocol and take further measures to address the concerns of the Committee expressed during this dialogue.

AIDS Law Project acknowledges and thanks International Women’s Rights Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific) for their support in training and facilitating participation of ALP in the 48th Session of CEDAW.

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