Kituo recognizes the importance in empowering the community in legal education. So, for the next days the Haki blog will focus on explaining the legal framework on sexual gender based violence. Yesterday we explained the international legal framework on sexual gender based violence (SGBV). Now we are going into the Kenyan legal framework on SGBV with help from our legal officer Ashioya Biko.
A basic tenet of all human rights is that they are inalienable, indivisible and inherent in all persons. This fact is well captured in the Constitution of Kenya at Article 28 thus, ‘Every person has inherent dignity and the right to have that dignity respected and protected (Emphasis mine)’. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Kenya has accepted as law, establishes the right of every human person to be free from all forms of slavery.
At Article 1 it states that. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights . . . It goes further at Article 2 to state that “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status . .
The aforementioned forms the premise to this Article on SGBV even as Kenya and the world at large observes the 16 days against Sexual Gender Based Violence.
WHAT IS GENDER BASED VIOLENCE?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), GBV is, “Any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will, and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females.”
Gender based violence includes acts that inflict physical, mental or sexual harm or suffering; the threat of such acts; and coercion and other deprivations of liberty. The term “gender-based violence” is often used interchangeably with (but not synonymous to) the term “violence against women”. The different forms of GBV include physical, sexual, emotional (psychological), and economic violence, and harmful traditional practices. As stated above, however, human freedom is based on the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Human dignity is its ultimate principle.
We are not free because other people give us our freedom. This would amount to everybody doing everybody else a favour; we would receive our freedom by common agreement. We are free because of our inherent dignity, and this dignity must be respected at all times by everyone irrespective of gender, tribe religion or social origin.
The Kenyan government and other stakeholders in acknowledging the consequences of sexual violence have over the years developed responses that are captured in the legal and policy frameworks and programmatic interventions.
Kenya is also a signatory to several international and regional conventions, treaties and human rights standards and programmes of action that seek to prevent or eradicate gender inequality and discrimination which are the major causes of gender based violence in Kenya. But first, let us look at the legislations that talk on GBV in Kenya.
Legal Officer, Kituo Cha Sheria