Kenya: a county government adopts a policy to combat sexual and gender-based violence

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At the end of 2019, Migori County government, located in the far West of Kenya, adopted a policy to combat sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). This policy provides a framework for the implementation of concrete measures in the prevention and response to SGBV, aimed at eliminating SGBV in the county. It makes it possible, for instance, to apply a specific legislative framework to combat such violence, improve victims’ access to care services, and promote the establishment of a mechanism to coordinate the authorities’ response in this area.

This progress is directly linked to the investigative work carried out in Migori by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organisation in Kenya, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), on sexual crimes committed during and after the 2017 national elections. The surveys carried out by our organisations among survivors of SGBV during the electioneering period have indeed highlighted the prevalence of these crimes targeting women in particular and the gaps in the prevention and fight against this violence.

Based on our research work, an advocacy campaign has been carried out since 2018 to raise awareness among the authorities about GBV and its serious consequences on survivors. Discussions that have been undertaken, have also aimed to urging the authorities to take measures to prevent and fight against the recurrence of this phenomenon and to providing protection and support to the victims. The work carried out contributed to the development of this policy. In the course of 2019, KHRC met with members of the Migori County Assembly to discuss the situation of survivors and the draft policy on combating SGBV, which was subsequently presented to the Assembly and adopted.

KHRC has continued to support families of victims of electoral violence to overcome the ordeal and to reunite with their families. In its retrospect, KHRC accounts successful reunions of three couples who had separated as a result of being victims of gender-based violence. After counselling, linkages with health institutions and dialogues with the couples and their families, three couples are back together as a family healing from the wounds together.

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