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HRW: Kenya not doing enough for post-election rape victims

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [text] Monday stating hundreds of women who were victims of rape during the 2007-2008 Kenyan post-election violence are still suffering from long-term trauma, poverty, and social exclusion, and the Kenyan government is not providing basic assistance [HRW report]. The violence during this period resulted in more than one thousand deaths, approximately 600,000 people displaced, and around 900 victims of sexual violence, but HRW believes these official reports are most likely underestimates.

The Kenyan government has provided limited compensation to people who were displaced or lost property, providing some money, housing, and land. Survivors of rape and other sexual violence have largely been excluded and very little has been done to address their specific medical or other needs.
HRW released a report [text, PDF] in 2011 detailing some of the events stemming from this violent period but is now focused on the rape victims because of the lasting physical, psychological, and social effects that are not being addressed or treated.

In January Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [official profile] appeared before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to argue for the dismissal of the charges of crimes against humanity [JURIST report] during the post-election violence. The ICC's investigation and prosecution of the Kenya Situation [ICC backgrounder] has been ongoing since 2010. In March 2015 the ICC withdrew its charges [JURIST report] against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was accused of crimes against humanity for post-election violence, but indicated it would renew the charges if presented with enough evidence. African leaders urged [JURIST report] the ICC in February of last year to drop cases against Ruto or suspend the charges until African concerns are considered by the court. In December 2014 prosecutors asked the court to drop [JURIST report] charges against Kenyatta. In response to the charges against Kenyatta and Ruto, the African Union [official website] unanimously resolved [JURIST report] in 2013 that African heads of state should be immune from prosecution by the ICC. Also in 2013 Kenya's National Assembly approved a motion [JURIST report] to leave the ICC.

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