Dialogue on Access to Justice in the context of Women Land and Property Rights

Dialogue on Access to Justice in the context of Women Land and Property Rights

KELIN in partnership with the Court Users Committee (CUCs), the Luo Elders and widows who have benefited from the Women Land and Property Rights (WLPR) Cultural Structure Program, will conduct a two day meeting in Kisumu and Homabay counties. The meetings will be held between the 23rd and 26th of January 2016 in Kisumu County, and between 27th and 29th January in Homabay County, respectively.

CUCs are forums used to bring to account all court participants in the resolution of shared problems, which include:

  1. Ignorance on the part of widows on the existence of property rights and the channels to follow in seeking justice;
  2. Lack of physical access to the legal justice system;
  • The high costs of taking cases to the courts, which are unaffordable to many widows;
  1. The delayed court process lasting between 2-6 years or more, making some of the litigants to give up;
  2. The court procedure is usually intimidating, especially to the defendant, therefore some widows wanting to maintain family unity would rather not use it;
  3. Widows do not have confidence in the local administration to resolve the cases; and
  • Many elders do not have a good grounding of the laws and rights of women to land and property.

The Committees were borne out of a need to coordinate responses to criminal and other justice issues by the Judiciary. They provide an avenue to address, in an open consultative approach, a broad range of precautionary as well as responsive matters in relation to administration of justice.

The elders and widows are representatives from Kisumu East, Nyando, Muhoroni, Rachounyo, Kasipul Kabondo and Nyakach sub counties of Kisumu and Homabay counties, respectively, on the basis of their function in resolving various disputes relating to women land and property rights. They have been trained by KELIN on mediation as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

The meeting seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Create an environment for open discussion and sharing experiences among the stakeholders. This facilitates identification of challenges that hinder access to justice for women land and properties rights.  It also forges a functional partnership between the Elders and the CUC.
  2. Participants develop strategies and plans to eliminate discrimination of women with regard to property rights.

It is expected that at the end of the dialogue, the stakeholders will enrich their knowledge on issues relating to women, land and property rights. Their capacity to handle such matters, and ability to work with other partners to ensure the decisions are implemented and formalized will be enhanced. This will ensure the human rights of women in the Kisumu and Homabay counties are institutionally protected and supported.

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