GI-ESCR and FIDA-Kenya Advocate for Women's Housing and Land Rights before the Human Rights Committee
In July 2012, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) partnered with the Federation of Women Lawyers - Kenya (FIDA-Kenya) to draft a Parallel Report addressing Kenya's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The report addressed discrimination against women in the areas of housing as well as access to, control over and the use of land and other productive resources.
The report was submitted to the Human Rights Committee in July and the GI-ESCR facilitated FIDA-Kenya's participation at the Human Rights Committee during its 105th session in Geneva. The GI-ESCR and FIDA-Kenya participated in both a formal meeting with the Human Rights Committee as well as an informal follow up meeting, and also were able to meet with individual Committee members. The issues brought to the attention of the Committee by the GI-ESCR and FIDA-Kenya resonated with the Committee and the governments delegation from Kenya was questioned repeatedly about discrimination against women and women's equal protection of the law.
Specific issues included women's equal rights related to access to, control over and use of land; women's equal rights in the area of inheritance; and domestic violence and housing rights.
Responding to our interventions, the Committee voiced its regret that the Law of Succession Act discriminates between the property interests of widows and widowers and that Kenya has yet to pass Matrimonial Property bill which would end that discrimination. Consequently, the Committee recommended that Kenya revise the Law on Succession Act to guarantee equality between men and women in the devolution and succession of property after death of a spouse and that it also enact legislation reforming its matrimonial property law.
The Committee also condemned forced evictions from land used for traditional livelihood purposes and urged Kenya to implement the decision of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in the case of Centre for Minority Rights Development (Kenya) and Minority Rights Group International on behalf of Endorois Welfare Council v Kenya.
The Joint Parallel Report can be found HERE.
The Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee are HERE.
See the Press Release from the Civil and Political Rights Centre HERE.