Women’s Initiatives Holds Press Conference in Nairobi, Kenya

In Uncategorized by Robin

During a period in which Kenya’s attention was fixated on the “Ocampo 6” and their looming hearing at the Hague, the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice held a press conference at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi to discuss the crucial need for accountability for gender-based crimes committed in the weeks following the East African country’s 2007-2008 election. The 30 March press conference was organized for women’s rights and peace advocates from Kenya, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) to address combating impunity and achieving gender justice in the situations under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Around 30 members of Kenyan media were present, including radio, television and print journalists.

The panel of speakers included Women’s Initiatives Executive Director and press conference moderator, Brigid Inder, and Sudan Programme Officer Amira Khair as well as the organization’s country partners and local Kenyan human rights defenders. Betty Murungi, board member of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, stressed not only the necessity for the ICC to launch investigations into the violence suffered by women in the nation’s post-poll conflict, but also the imperative need to strengthen local and national judicial mechanisms into enduring institutions that can ensure accountability and justice for women. Deputy Director of the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), Michael Wachira, mentioned his organization’s research reflecting widespread cases of rape, sexual exploitation and other gender-based violence. Given the country’s wide media coverage on its investigation by the ICC, these discussions were timely and valuable to furthering the discourse on improving women’s access to justice in Kenya and around the world.

The press conference also presented an opportunity for women’s rights activists and Women’s Initiatives partners from the DRC and the CAR to share experiences of women victims/survivors in their respective conflicts and their need for assistance and support. Coordinator forJeunesse Unie pour la Protection de l’Environnement et le Développement Communautaire (JUPEDEC), Alexis Mbolinani, explained the specific ordeals and needs of women in southeastern CAR, an area still targeted and attacked by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Stella Yanda, Executive Secretary of Initiatives Alpha, a group that works with victims/survivors of gender-based crimes in the South Kivu province, eastern DRC, expressed the importance of disseminating information about ongoing ICC cases in the area and how they can benefit victims/survivors. The press conference was covered by various media outlets in Kenya including radio stations Kiss FM and Capital FM and television news channels Citizen TV and K24 TV.

Read more about the Women’s Initiatives’ Nairobi press conference here.

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