On June 6, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights launched a pioneering inquiry into human rights violations that occur when women seek reproductive healthcare. The inquiry is a result of extensive advocacy by the Center and the Federation of Women Lawyers – Kenya (FIDA Kenya), including a petition requesting an official inquiry.
The Center and FIDA Kenya first raised the issue in 2007 with the publication of Failure to Deliver: Violations of Women’s Human Rights in Kenyan Health Facilities. The report demonstrated systemic failings in the delivery of reproductive healthcare services and highlighted a range of human rights violations suffered by women, including pinching, beating and slapping during delivery, verbal abuse, denial of care, and detention in medical facilities for inability to pay medical bills.
This inquiry is one of the first by a national human rights institution in the region to focus on reproductive rights violations. With an eye towards improving services, the Commission will spend the next two months exploring Kenya’s sexual and reproductive health service system, through women’s testimonies about their experiences, public hearings throughout Kenya, and expert submissions to the Commission.
The Center applauds the important work of the Commission and will be submitting supplementary information for the inquiry.