KENYA: Women Demand Rights for People Living in Slums

 

NAIROBI, March 8, 2011 (CISA) –
Kenyan women are urging the government to address 10 key demands for people living in informal settlements as they celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day.
The women demanded for equal protection under the law to all the people living in informal settlements by increasing the levels of policing in the informal settlements through the establishment of adequate police posts, adequate street lighting in the informal settlements, o apply and enforce legislation requiring landlords to construct non paying toilets/latrines and bathrooms in the immediate vicinity of each households.
Others are to enforce the 2007 NESHP policy by ensuring that 90 percent of households have, access to a hygienic, affordable and sustainable toilet facility, improved housing, food safety, safe drinking water and safe disposal of wastes.
The Minister of Justice was urged to improve confidence in the justice system and policing by:  improving channels of communication with the police so that it is easy for women to report crimes against them, developing, in line with government commitments, under the National Land Policy and Slum upgrading strategy, land ownership and land use laws that provide a minimum degree of security of tenure by guaranteeing legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and threats.
The Minister of Gender was called to address the factors contributing to violence against women, including improving access to education, job creation schemes, financing women’s businesses, so that women in slums and informal settlements can improve their working conditions.
Prime Minister, Raila Odinga was urged to ensure that the relevant government authorities and departments, including the ministries of Water and Irrigation, and Public Health and Sanitation, Nairobi City Council, The Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company and the regulatory board, the Athi Water Services Board coordinates their efforts to improve the water and sanitation situation in the slums and informal settlements.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs was urged to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights without delay.
The last demands called on the international community, including the UN and key donors to provide assistance to the government of Kenya in fulfilling its obligations to guarantee the right to adequate housing, especially, in the context of women’s security and access to essential services in informal settlements, and ensure that such assistance is consistent with international standards on human rights.
The demands were made on March 5 in an event organised by Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya- Justice and Peace Commission (AOSK-JPC) and partners, to mark a hundred years of women achievements.
The women had converged at the Holy Family Basilica Parish in Nairobi after a procession from Uhuru Park.
The demands were read out loudly at a candle lighting ceremony in the parish hall, led by the Uganda High Commissioner to Kenya, Angelina Wapakhabulo who was among the key guests.
Other key guests who read the demands included: Sr Veronica Thiga of Assumption Sisters of Nairobi who gave a talk on Food Security, Fatma Anyanzwa spoke on Safety and Dignity of Women, Elizabeth Wanjiru akaShosh, an actor in a local programme called Mother –In-Law, Hassan Omar of Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Catherine Muma of the Commission for the Implementation of the new Kenya Constitution, and Justus Nyangaya of Amnesty International.
The event was also jointly organised by: The Damietta Initiative, Chemichemi ya Ukweli, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Kalausi Consultant, Royal Media Service (Ramogi FM), Amnesty International, RSCK-J&P Missionaries of Africa, Radio Waumini, People for Peace in Africa, Adams Mirror International, Development Through Media (DTM) and CISA.
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