Wednesday, 12 November 2008

KENYA: Special Attention to Women Sought in Truth Commission

NAIROBI, August 29, 2008 (CISA) -A civil society organisation is calling for adequate attention to women in the proposed law that would establish a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to deal with the Kenya’s past injustices.The Kenya section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya) expressed dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission Bill 2008 that was published by the government and is due for debate in parliament.The TJRC Bill 2008 intends to establish accurate, complete and historical records of violations and abuses of human rights and economic rights inflicted on Kenyans by the state, public institutions and holders of public office from Independence on December 12, 1963 to February 28, 2008.Establishment of the TJRC was one of the resolutions of the National Accord brokered by Koffi Annan to end the political crisis that followed last year’s disputed presidential election.During a public forum in Nairobi on Thursday, Priscilla Nyokabi, a programme officer at ICJ-Kenya, reviewed the TJRC Bill 2008 with reference to emerging gender concerns.Nyokabi said that a strategy needs to be created for the way forward to anchor gender issues in the TJRC Bill which contains gender gaps like lack of gender balance in appointment of commissioners and staffing.She recommended creation of a gender unit within the TJRC consisting of gender experts and the creation of reparation schemes with adequate funds to cater for all aspects of dealing with gender-based violence like counseling, education for victims and reparations.The commission should also be enabled to actively seek out victims of violence and ensure they are not locked out. Nyokabi also called for expansion of the time frame of the envisaged commission from two to five years.There should be enough publicity and education of Kenyans on reparation schemes. Nyokabi, however, expressed fears that the present system of law is corrupt and would could impede the truth-seeking process.Critics said that Kenya is notorious for forming commissions and making laws that are never acted upon and proposed that the previous commissions be implemented to pave way for a success in the TJRC.

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