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Summary Rose’s husband was abusive prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. He had been physically violent on multiple occasions, had threatened to kill her by stabbing or strangling her, and verbally abused her. The abuse continued and escalated after Rose…
News

Government Should Support Community Activists Working to Protect Survivors

Gladys Koskey, 48, has always kept her home in Trans Mara, southwestern Kenya, open to friends and relatives. But in the past decade, her home has also become an important refuge for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Gladys leads a group of…
Gladys Koskey helps a nine-years-old rape survivor who lives in her home with her writing.
News

Effective Law Enforcement, Access to Shelter, Financial Support Are Critical

(Nairobi) – The Kenyan government’s response to gender-based violence during the Covid-19 pandemic has been too little, too late, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 61-page report, “‘I Had Nowhere to Go’: Violence against Women…
The back of a girl staring out a window
News
Doris is a 75-year-old woman from Kayaba informal settlement in Nairobi. As with most families in the settlement, her house is a single dilapidated room with mud walls, a corrugated iron roof, and dirt floors. There is no clean running water, and she…
People stand outside a purple building with a mural on it that says "Corona is Real"
News

Pregnancy Risks Left Out of Climate Change Planning

We have corrected the online version of this report to include an additional state government response on heat health action plans received by Human Rights Watch after the requested deadline but prior to publication. Germany has delayed…
A woman shields herself from the sun with an umbrella on a hot summer day in Cologne, Germany, July 25, 2019. 
News

Education Ministry has a Crucial Role in Addressing Teen Pregnancies

“I want to [talk] about female candidates who sat for the…examination [while] in hospitals. As I celebrate, I also want to castigate our parents in the most severe terms possible.” These were the words of Kenya’s cabinet secretary for education,…
young mothers collect books library
News

On Human Rights Day, Celebrating People Who Make the World Better

This Human Rights Day I’m celebrating my sister’s commitment to lifting up the lives of girls and giving them a chance at realizing their potential. I think of my sister Vicky as a warrior in the fight for human rights, and on December 10, I’m…
Vicky, a teacher in a girls’ school in Kenya, is dedicated to empowering girls. 
News

Companies’ Respect for Rights at Particular Risk During Covid-19

This would have been the week: The German government had put the planned Supply Chain Act on its cabinet meeting agenda. If passed, the law would require companies to ensure that the rights of workers and communities in their supply chains are…
Workers sew clothes in a garments factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 25, 2020.
News

Harms Girls and Reduces Nation's Potential

"I didn't go back to school, because I didn't have anyone to give me advice," "Harriet" told me. "I wish someone would've come to talk to me about school and encourage me." We were sitting in   her brother's home in Migori county, western…
News
A Supreme Court review of the division of matrimonial property law may provide clarity for Kenyans on rights to land, houses, and other assets acquired during marriage. Over the last decade, Kenya has enacted laws to ensure equality of spouses in…
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Report
  Summary Ruth K., a 40-year-old Taita mother of two in Kilifi county, was struggling to support herself financially. In 2016, her husband forced her out of their matrimonial home, and she left with nothing. She said, “When you work on…
News

Women and Matrimonial Property Rights in Kenya

Women in Kenya still face insurmountable difficulty when trying to claim matrimonial property after divorce. Here are some of their stories.  Issa B: When her abusive husband left her, she was ordered to return her dowry My husband turned…
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News
Kenyans are speaking about divorce more openly than ever before. But women still face insurmountable difficulty when trying to claim matrimonial property after divorce. Human Rights Watch found that the process for dividing up this property discriminates…
Women registering for a community dialogue meeting organized by the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-Kenya) with the Milimani Law Courts in Kibera, Nairobi.
News

Despite Law, Biased Practices Persist

(Nairobi) – Many women in Kenya are left without protection to claim their matrimonial property despite relative progress in the laws on paper, Human Rights Watch and the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya) said in a report released today. A…
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News

Kenyan authorities demolished hundreds of homes last month, leaving thousands homeless and without any support.

In early May, Kenyan authorities evicted more than 8,000 people in two of Nairobi’s informal settlements. Deprived of their homes, hundreds of families were forced to sleep out in the open for weeks. They not only had to gather around fires…
Alongside evicting residents in the Kariobangi North Sewerage settlement and surrounding areas, authorities used excavators to demolish homes, churches, shops, and schools, and destroyed personal belongings.
News

Lockdown Measures Increase Risks for Women and Girls

For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he…
Kenyans make their way home before the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2020.
News
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, women in Kenya still face hurdles in owning and using land and property. “I feel like a prisoner,” a 45-year-old widow told me last year during an interview about the subject in Kakamega. “I’m…
A woman walks past a mural on a Family Health Options clinic in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya, May 16, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
News

6 Years On, No Action on Truth, Justice, Reconciliation Report

(Nairobi) – The Kenyan National Assembly has blocked justice and reparations for victims of human rights violations by failing to consider the findings of a 2013 report by the country’s Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), a…
Residents flee as anti-riot policemen pursue opposition protestors in Mathare, Nairobi, on August 12.
News

Need Better Protection for Holy Sites and Comprehensive Efforts to Combat Rising Hate

The attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day of the year, is a terrifying reminder that the scourge of anti-Semitism persists in Europe today. A woman and a man were killed…
People mourn in front of a synagogue in Halle, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
News

Proposed Reparations Bill Chance to Compensate Post-Election Rape Survivors

This weekend, I received the sad news that Chepkorir had died. Chepkorir, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy, was raped in December 2007. The men who raped her beat her badly and she had been struggling with poor health…