Posts Tagged ‘Nairobi’

Media have critical role in breaking silence on violence against women

November 23, 2019

Swapna Majumdar wrote in the Daily Pioneer of 22 November 2019 “Don’t muzzle their voices”  about what role the media can play in the discourse on violence against women, human rights and empowerment?  Can it help survivors? How can the media be leveraged to change perceptions and end gender-based violence?

These are some of the questions that came up at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD+25) Summit held in Nairobi recently. A session focussed on the importance of the media in either shifting or perpetuating attitudes toward  gender-based violence in the context of the ICPD. [see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/11/19/16-days-of-activism-against-gender-based-violence-start-on-25-november-2019/]

“Violence against women is a human rights violation. Violence is about silencing us and the media is about breaking the silence. The media has a critical role to see that this silence is broken and women’s voices are amplified,” said Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister of Women’s Affairs of Cambodia. … However, the persistence of social stereotyping and social attitudes towards women prevented them from seeking help and services. This is where the media can help as it continues to play a crucial role globally in key conversations. The way gender-based violence (GBV) is covered and reported in the news media can influence the way our communities perceive the issue,” she said.

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, an award-winning journalist from Samoa, agreed. “The media is a powerful tool in fighting GBV because they not only report on society but help shape public opinion and perceptions,” she contended. The Chief Editor of JiG, Jackson said that the language used by the media was critical and it had to be careful not to normalise sexual harassment, objectify women or blame survivors. Studies have shown that gender inequalities tend to get reinforced by media content that contributes to the normalisation of sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence. There is a tendency to reproduce stereotypes that associate violence by men as a symbol of their masculinity and power. Many news reports of violence against women tend to represent women as victims and as responsible for the violence.

Unfortunately, this is what has happened in Syria, according to Jafar Irshaidat, communications specialist, UNFPA, Syria. “We found that the media could play a harmful role in generating stereotyping and perpetuating certain myths about GBV. Their news reports also harmed survivors directly by disclosing their identities and shifting the blame away from the perpetrators. So we are working with the media on how they can change the narrative,” he said. This is where women journalists are making the difference.  In India, one of the important examples of how the media used its influence to impact positive change was seen by the reportage, by women journalists in particular, around the Delhi gang-rape in December 2012. This led to public mobilisation and the enactment of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013. This mandated the compulsory filing of First Information Reports (FIRs) in police stations, something that was neglected earlier. It also criminalised various kinds of attacks on women, including stalking, acid attacks and stripping.

“Women journalists have made significant contribution to changing the narrative and defending human rights through their reporting on gender-based violence,” stated Krishanti Dharmaraj, Executive Director, Centre for Women in Global Leadership (CWGL).  The CWGL, a global women’s rights organisation based out of Rutgers University is the founder and coordinator of the ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’, an international campaign used by activists around the world to eliminate of all forms of GBV.

“Women journalists who cover stories about gender-based violence are human rights defenders in their own right. They often face challenges, including misogynistic attacks online and offline, as a result of their work. “They also face the challenge of dealing with their own trauma as they help another girl or woman secure justice,” says Sarah Macharia, Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP). The GMMP is the largest and longest-running research and advocacy initiative on gender equality in the world’s news media.

Implemented collaboratively with grassroots and national-level women’s rights groups, other civil society organisations, associations and unions of media professionals, university students and researchers around the world, the GMMP aims to advance gender equality in and through the media by gathering evidence on disparities in portrayal, representation and voice of women compared to men.

The latest GMMP study showed a decline in stories that focussed on gender violence, including issues such as rape, sexual assault, family violence, female genital mutilation and trafficking. At the same time, there were progressively higher proportions of women as sources in GBV stories.

“In 2005, women were 38 per cent of the people seen, heard or spoken about in the stories, compared to 46 per cent in 2015, a rise of almost 10 points in 10 years. At least three quarters of those who experience gender-based violence are women and yet, they constitute less than one half of people interviewed or are the subject of these stories,” said Sarah Macharia, GMMP coordinator. However,  even women journalists are reporting fewer of the stories. Macharia pointed out that in 2010, women journalists reported 41 per cent of the stories, compared to 30 per cent in 2015, a fall of 11 per cent in five years.

Last year, a survey conducted by the International Women’s Foundation and Troll Busters found women journalists, who experienced online abuse, reported short-term and long-term emotional and psychological effects. About 40 per cent had avoided reporting certain stories as a result of these incidents.

In India, the #MeToo movement has been a catalyst to tackle GBV violence in the media with many women journalists coming out to share their stories of sexual assault and harassment. However, hardly any media organisation has provided physical security, legal advice and psychological support to women journalists affected by sexual violence and sexual harassment.

Women journalists face a triple risk:  Risk as every other woman; the same risks as their male colleagues and risks that impact them specifically because they are women journalists. Unless impunity for attacks on women journalists ends, these risks will continue to impact their work.

https://www.dailypioneer.com/2019/columnists/don—t-muzzle-their-voices.html

Human Rights Watch film festival 2016

February 20, 2016

From 9 – 18 March there will be the 2016 human rights film festival of Human Rights Watch in London, and from there it will travel to Toronto (30 March – 7 April), New York (10 – 19 June) and Nairobi (14-18 November). Read the rest of this entry »

Protection international seeks French-speaking Regional Programme officer based in Nairobi

March 27, 2014

Brussels-based Protection International [PI] is looking for a Regional Programme officer based in Nairobi, Kenya – French-speaking.  PI is an international non-profit organization researching strategies and security management tools that protect human rights defenders and sharing its expertise in this area with people at risk for their human rights work all around the world. PI sees human rights defenders as agents of change who form a pillar of free and just societies. In many parts of the world, HRDs face threats from state and non-state actors for their human rights work. PI works with human rights defenders to develop strategies tailored to their profile and context.

The Role
PI Regional Programme officer is responsible for implementing PIs work in the region of the East and Horn of Africa and the wider African continent (except DRC) under supervision of the Representative. The RPO will have a focus (but not work exclusively) on French-speaking African countries. The PI RPO is part of a team of four, based in Nairobi. (S)he travels regularly in the region and occasionally beyond.

Key responsibilities:

Capacity Building

1. To accompany partners in building their capacity to manage their security and protect their sources and the people whose rights they defend;
2. to propose improvement of PI’s capacity building approach and tools with an eye for the specific requirements of local, national and regional context;
3. To actively monitor and evaluate change, positive or negative.

Research
1. Undertake research on issues related to the way HRDs protect themselves, the State and its duty to protect and the ways of other actors with a stake in the protection of HRD;
2. To capture lessons learnt and best practices in HRD protection in suitable formats and share within PI for internal learning and strategic use with external stakeholders.

Lobby and advocacy
1. To contribute to the development of advocacy activities and documents in coordination with the PI Representative;
2. To liaise with other regional, national and/or local HRDs organisations with a view to establishing or reinforcing relationships and possibly developing partnerships;
3. To undertake advocacy activities before national, regional and international authorities;
4. To liaise with NGOs, international organisations and bodies working in the region on the protection of human rights defenders.

Monitoring and evaluation
1. To analyse the situation of HRDs and HROs at risk in EHA and other sub regional countries covered by the project and provide security advice;
2. To collaborate and prepare reports for the PI Representative on programmatic and thematic topics;
3. Monitor and evaluate PI projects and partners with a view to document and learn from the process.

General responsibilities
1. To contribute to the timely update of the organisation security plan and abide by it;
2. To keep abreast of the political situation in the country and contribute to the organizational political analysis.

Skills and experience (selection)

  • University degree in law, human rights, political science, social sciences or related field;
  • Experience in human rights work of at least 3 years;
  • Experience in the practical delivery of training preferably adult learning;
  • Experience with local human rights organisations and human rights issues;
  • Field mission experience;

Location: The position is based in Nairobi, Kenya with frequent travels in the sub-region of the East and Horn of Africa.
Languages: Fluency in spoken and written French and English are a precondition. Kiswahili will be positively valued.
The offer: One-year, renewable contract with six month probation period. Contract conform Kenyan labour law. Competitive remuneration

To apply for the position please send your resume, cover letter and names and contact details of 3 references before 4 April 2014 to the following email: ikihara[at]protectioninternational.org. Include your name in the file name of your application documents, e.g. John_Smith_CV.doc. Do not attach any certificates or references at this stage of the recruitment process. Include the following subject line in your email: Application for PI Regional Programme Officer EHA.

Further information about the activities of Protection International can be obtained from http://www.protectioninternational.org. Female candidates are especially encouraged to apply.

http://protectioninternational.org/2014/03/20/call-for-applications-pi-is-looking-for-french-speaking-regional-programme-officer/

Helping the police in Kenya can cost you dearly – human rights defender John Abok experienced it

June 30, 2013

On 27 June 2013, human rights defender John Abok was arrested and held in police custody over allegations of impersonation. Read the rest of this entry »

Abduction and physical assault of human rights defender Lydia Mukami in Kenya

June 5, 2013

On 1 June 2013 at dawn, Kenyan human rights defender Ms Lydia Mukami was abandoned in a bush after being abducted by unidentified men who had spent several hours subjecting her to physical assault. Lydia Mukami is the chairperson of Mwea Foundation, a grassroots organisation of rice farmers in the Mwea constituency that has been at the forefront of an ongoing campaign to challenge the constitutionality of Kenya’s 1966 Irrigation Act. Read the rest of this entry »

In Kenya two women human rights defenders WANT to go to court on 26 February

February 25, 2013

This interesting story starts in February 2011 with a peaceful demonstration against deaths of pregnant women at the Huruma Nursing Home, a hospital serving Huruma, one of the major slums in Nairobi. Two human rights defenders, Ruth Mumbi and Ms Victoria Atieno, were accused of incitement to violence. Their case has dragged on for 2 years with at least 5 adjournments triggered by the absence at the trial of the administrator of Huruma Nursing Home, both a key witness and complainant. During the latest hearing on 21 February 2013, the administrator of Huruma Nursing Home turned up at the Court. However, this was a new administrator who replaced the person who managed the establishment at the time when the protest took place. As the judge raised questions about this change of witness, the administrator responded that the sole purpose of his presence at Makadara Law Courts was to present Huruma Nursing Home’s desire that the case be dismissed! The judge interestingly decided to allow the accused human rights defenders to express their opinion on it. On 26 February 2013 (tomorrow), Ruth Mumbi and Victoria Atieno hope to tell how they were victims of malicious prosecution and file a lawsuit to claim damages. And on top of this a great occasion to alert the public about poor health services!

The case against Ruth Mumbi and Victoria Atieno was referred to in an urgent appeal http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/20473 on 30 October 2012. Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

 

Citizens with mobile phones intend to keep Kenya’s election clean and peaceful

February 24, 2013

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Bukeni Waruzi – just back from a field trip to Kenya – posted an excellent piece on “Witness‘ blog on 23 February  under the title “Can Cell Phones Save Kenya’s Elections?. Here some excerpts:

The December 2007 elections were marred by unprecedented violence: killings, rapes, lootings, attacks on civilians, and massive displacement. Historically peaceful, Kenya devolved into violence that caught many unprepared—including human rights activists who were unable to use video to document the magnitude of what was happening.

ATTACK ON HRD OKIYA OMTATAH SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED IMPARTIALLY

November 11, 2012

Reports indicate that Mr. Okiya Okoiti Omtatah was attacked in the evening on 8 November 2012 by unknown assailants at Nairobi’s Central Business District. He suffered broken teeth and a deep cut on the head. He was taken to hospital in Nairobi for medical examination. Mr. Omtatah is a known human rights defender who has been at the forefront of condemning human rights violations in Kenya, corruption and abuse of offices by state officials. Mr Omtatah has recently publicly raised concern regarding the Biometric Voter Registration Kits’ procurement process in Kenya.

The Government of Kenya should ensure that thorough and impartial investigations are carried out into the attack on Mr. Omtatah the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders in Kenya said on 9 November.

This incident has taken place at a period when Human rights defenders in Kenya, including journalists have reported increasing threats, physical attacks and arbitrary arrest in the past few months.
The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders condemns this incident and ongoing threats and targeting of human rights defenders as they conduct their legitimate work. We call upon the government, particularly the police to assure citizens of safety and protection of all people particularly as the country head towards elections in March 2013.

The National Coalition of HRDs further urges the Government of Kenya to fight impunity by ensuring that impartial, thorough and timely investigations are carried out into this and other incidents, and that the perpetrators are held to account in prosecutions that meet international fair trial standards.

For inquiries, please contact Kamau Ngugi, Coordinator, NCHRD on info@nchrdk.org
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