The place of liberal feminism in the struggle for gender equality in Kenya.Posted: 8 July, 2022 Filed under: Davis Thuranira | Tags: affirmative actions, Bill of Rights, equal participation, feminism, gender discrimination, gender equality, gender inequality, Gender Representation in the National Assembly and the Senate, gender rule, good governance, human rights, Kenya, legal framework, liberal feminism, non-discrimination, patriarchy, Rono v Rono, toxic masculinity, transformative jurisprudence Leave a comment
Author: Davis Thuranira
Student, Kenyatta University, Kenya
The framers of the constitution provided adequate mechanisms to counter gender discrimination and foster equality among all sexes and gender in the country. As a matter of fact, several legal provisions incline to an ideology of equality that seeks to overhaul the existing societal structure which anchors discrimination and unequal treatment of women.
Equality, non-discrimination, inclusiveness and protection of the marginalized are among the key principles featured under Article 10. The provision universally applies to all persons and demands compliance by the state, including its organs, while exercising its constitutional mandate. The state is required to invoke its authority by giving effect to the two-third gender rule. Additionally, these principles and others that support gender equality are emphasized in the constitution since such are the basis for any democratic society that the constitution envisions. The applicability of these principles is mandatory, and the courts have on several occasions emphasized that the principles are not aspirational as argued by critics but realistic, practicable and binding on everyone. In the case of Rono v Rono, the Court of Appeal authoritatively asserted that the Constitution shields women from customary succession laws that bar women from inheriting property. The Court held that both male and female children are treated equally before the law and that discriminatory rules are invalid and unconstitutional to the extent that it treats women as inferiors to men. Read the rest of this entry »
Contextualising and Advocating for Sexual Minority Rights within Kenya’s Transformative ConstitutionPosted: 27 May, 2022 Filed under: Laureen Mukami Nyamu | Tags: Bill of Rights, dignity, discrimination, equal protection, Gay and Lesbians Human Rights Council, human rights, Kenya, sexual minorities, sexual minority rights, torture, violence 4 Comments
Author: Laureen Mukami Nyamu
Student, Kabarak University School of Law in Nakuru, Kenya
Human rights are inherent to all human beings regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or other status  moreover they are universal but the universality of human rights is not enjoyed by sexual minorities due to discrimination. This discrimination stems from religious, socio- cultural, institutional and discriminatory laws and policies. These factors hamper the full enjoyment of human rights by sexual minorities.
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is transformative in the realm of human rights by recognising the bill of rights as an integral part of Kenya’s democracy, social, economic and cultural policies and by having an elaborate Bill of Rights that remedies the subversion of human rights which was a characteristic of the repealed constitution.  This article will contextualise and show advocacy of sexual minority rights within the constitutional framework and provide a way forward as regards sexual minority rights. Read the rest of this entry »
COVID-19: How more access to the internet can reduce existing barriers for women’s rights in AfricaPosted: 4 May, 2020 Filed under: Nelly Warega, Tomiwa Ilori | Tags: Access to Information, access to information online, Africa, civil society organisations, coronavirus, COVID-19, CSOs, digital platforms, digital skills, domestic violence, health services, inequalities, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, internet access, Kenya, Lagos State Government Health Service Commission, lockdown, mainstream media, maternal health, maternal mortality, Mozambique, Nigeria, pandemic, PPE, PPEs, smart phones, South Africa, Uganda, women's rights Leave a comment
Authors: Nelly Warega* and Tomiwa Ilori**
*Legal Advisor, Women’s Link Worldwide
**Doctoral researcher, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
On 17 April 2020, a Twitter user tweeted about a hospital in Lagos that demanded personal protective equipment (PPE) from a woman seeking to give birth at the facility. The incident, according to the user happened at the General Hospital, Ikorodu, under the Lagos State Government Health Service Commission. The PPEs have become important for health workers given the surge in transmission COVID-19 across the world. However, despite the rising demand and scarcity of PPEs, a conversation on the propriety of placing the burden of procurement of PPEs on expectant mothers is vital.
A call to action: Protecting women’s rights in Sub-Saharan Africa during COVID-19 pandemicPosted: 20 April, 2020 Filed under: Juliet Nyamao | Tags: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, coronavirus, Cote d'Ivoire, COVID-19 outbreak, equality, gender-based violence, Ghana, human rights, informal employment, International Health Regulations (2005), international obligations, John Hopkins University Corona Virus Resource Center, Kenya, pneumonia, protection of human rights, public health emergency, rule of law, Senegal, South Africa, stringent policies, tax relief measures, unemployment funds, WHO Regional Office for Africa Report, women, women's rights, World Health Organization, Wuhan City Leave a comment
Author: Juliet Nyamao
Human Rights Attorney, Kenyan Bar
On 31 December 2019, The World Health Organisation (WHO) was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. One week later, on 7 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a novel coronavirus as the cause of the pneumonia. Following this discovery, China witnessed unprecedented increase in morbidity and mortality rates of victims of the virus. Ultimately, the Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international attention under the International Health Regulations (2005), following recommendations from the members and advisers to International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee for Pneumonia. Although measures were taken to halt international travel the virus had already spread to other regions of the world including Africa. According to the John Hopkins University Corona Virus Resource Center, the pandemic has had devastating effects in Europe, Asia and the Americas with mortality rate of more than 100,000 people, with a total of more than 1.7 million confirmed cases worldwide.
The Global Compact on Refugees: A breakthrough opportunity in addressing the protracted refugee crises in East AfricaPosted: 4 October, 2019 Filed under: Juliet Nyamao | Tags: Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate change, climate changes, East Africa, Ethiopia, flee, fleeing war, forced displacement, Global Compact on Refugees, human rights violations, humanitarian funding, Kenya, migration, New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, refugee camps, refugee self-reliance, refugees, SDG, sub-Saharan Africa, sustainable development, Uganda, UN, United Nations, war 2 Comments
Author: Juliet Nyamao
Human Rights Attorney, Kenyan Bar
In recent years, the world has witnessed an explosive increase in the number of refugees and internally displaced persons. The upsurge in forced displacement has increased the demand for humanitarian assistance and strained the limited resources of host nations, majority of which are developing economies. The resulting economic strain compelled the international community to develop sustainable mechanisms for protecting refugees and displaced persons in alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Read the rest of this entry »
A human rights approach to internet taxes in AfricaPosted: 17 September, 2019 Filed under: Tomiwa Ilori | Tags: African Charter, bloggers, Communication Service Tax, digital rights, e-commerce, expensive broadband, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, Ghana, ICESRC, ICTs, internet, internet taxation, Kenya, Nigeria, Online Content Regulations, protecting internet rights, right to access information, sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania, tax, taxation, Uganda, UN Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty Leave a comment
Author: Tomiwa Ilori
HRDA Alumni Coordinator/Researcher: Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Due to increasing underdevelopment in sub-Saharan Africa, many governments have looked towards several means to make up for deficits in domestic fiscal planning. One of the means through which governments have financed their budgets is by levying higher taxes on companies and individuals to be able to raise revenue.
While there may be legitimate reasons for states to levy taxes, in order for a tax system to be regarded as good and effective it needs to comply with at least five basic conditions: ensure a beneficial system; transparent in collection and use; less bureaucratic and equitable – every person should pay a fair amount of taxes not injurious to their well-being. While Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) potentially impact the global economy, not all economies have thrived equally. In most sub-Saharan African countries, the impacts of ICTs have been least felt which damages the prospects of democratic development in the region. Read the rest of this entry »
South Africa’s intention to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: Time to seriously consider an African alternative?Posted: 28 October, 2016 Filed under: Owiso Owiso | Tags: Africa, African Charter, African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Court of Justice and Human Rights, African Union, AU, Election and Governance, frican Charter on Democracy, human rights, ICC, impunity, International Criminal Court, International Criminal law, justice, Kenya, Malabo Protocol, Omar Al-Bashir, Rome Statute, South Africa, Sudan, Uhuru Kenyatta, United Nations, United Nations Security Council, William Ruto 1 Comment
Author: Owiso Owiso
LLB – Nairobi, PGD Law – KSL
While the decision by South Africa to commence the formal process of withdrawing from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is shocking, honest observers will admit it was not entirely unforeseen. African countries through the African Union (AU) have long voiced misgivings about the International Criminal Court (ICC) and it was just a matter of time before the usually slow-moving AU clock started ticking. The AU had earlier this year urged its members to consider withdrawing from the Rome Statute. This was triggered by the refusal by the United Nations Security Council and the ICC to accede to the AU’s requests for suspension or termination of the cases against Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
While South Africa’s decision should be condemned, nothing much is likely to come of such condemnation. Treaties are a product of state consent and it follows that withdrawal is equally a unilateral act of the state. Even if an argument could be advanced against such unilateralism, the process is still a political one which rests almost entirely with the political class, at least in imperfect democracies. South Africa’s move is likely to embolden other African countries to commence similar processes. South Africa is Africa’s biggest economy and the AU’s largest member contributor. It is also arguably one of Africa’s better-off imperfect democracies. For these reasons, it is often the case in continental affairs that other African countries hold on to their cards until South Africa plays after which they emerge from their cocoons and play theirs in more or less similar fashion. With the possible exception of ‘righteous’ Botswana and perhaps Mauritius that considers itself African only when the situation suits it, the possibility that other African countries will follow South Africa’s lead on the ICC cannot be ruled out. In light of such possibility, how then does Africa assure its citizens that the fight against impunity as is entrenched in its founding instrument is still top of its agenda, if at all it ever was?
Uganda: Why the Constitutional Court should rule on the right to healthPosted: 3 June, 2016 Filed under: Michael Addaney | Tags: African Court of Justice and Human Rights, anemia, child birth, constitution, Constitutional Court of Uganda, diabetes, doctrine of political question, duty to fulfil, duty to respect, government health facilities, hepatitis, Kenya, malaria, maternal health, maternal mortality, obligation to protect, public health, South Africa, Supreme Court, Uganda, universal human rights 2 Comments
Author: Michael Addaney
Senior Research Assistant, University of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana
A case currently before the Constitutional Court of Uganda is providing an interesting test for how far courts can go in protecting basic human rights. Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings. Every person is equally entitled to them without discrimination. They are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.
Universal human rights are often guaranteed by law through treaties and various sources of international law which generally oblige governments to respect, protect and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.
Apart from international obligations, countries have various ways of entrenching human rights. Most contemporary constitutions entrench basic human rights. Such constitutions include the 1996 Constitution of South Africa and the 2010 Kenyan Constitution. Likewise, the 1995 Constitution of Uganda contains the Bill of Rights that guarantees fundamental freedoms and basic rights including the rights to health and to life.
The imminent mass exodus from the ICC by African member states: A turning point for justice in Africa?Posted: 26 May, 2016 Filed under: Thabang Mokgatle | Tags: ACJ, African Court of Justice, Day in Support of Victims of Torture, domestic courts, EAC, Extraordinary African Chambers, Habré trial, human rights treaties, ICC, International Criminal Court, Kenya, loss of lives, post-election ethnic violence, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Senegal, torture, universal jurisdiction 2 Comments
Author: Thabang Mokgatle
Candidate Attorney, Rushmere Noach Incorporated, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
After several months of reading headlines, scholarly articles and opinion pieces about the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its alleged anti-Africa agenda, news that Senegal had taken a decision to prosecute former Chadian leader Hissène Habré for, amongst others, crimes against humanity was welcomed.
Implementing the international law principle of universal jurisdiction, the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) were opened in Senegal in 2013, giving the domestic courts of the country the authority to try the former leader for war crimes committed in Chad from 1982 to 1990. Universal Jurisdiction, and particularly the jurisdiction of the EAC allows for the African member State to prosecute persons responsible for international crimes, irrespective of whether they are a former or sitting Head of State. As Thulasizwe Simelane of ENCA News aptly puts it, the trial is “‘one small step for a country (Senegal) and one giant leap for the continent” .The move is indeed revolutionary for Africa. Revolutionary because one need only refer to media headlines to deduce that the gripe African leaders have with the ICC is underscored by its persistent ‘targeting’ of African leaders in office.