Litigation is a major strategy for realizing international and regional treaty obligations for human rights. It has been widely used for providing relief and remedies for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) violations.
Whereas there has been an increase in the number of cases challenging human rights violations in the context of SRHR, , the question remains whether the decisions made in these cases have made any positive impact or benefitted the parties.
It is in this context that the Dullah Omar Institute at the University of Western Cape, South Africa in conjunction with KELIN held a two day dialogue on “assessing the impact of sexual and reproductive rights litigation in Africa” in Johannesburg from 30 November to 1 December 2017. The meeting brought together activists, academics and human rights lawyers involved in SRHR litigation from East, West and Southern Africa.
During the forum, KELIN presented on the forced sterilization cases it is handling on behalf of five women who were sterilized without their informed consent. It also presented on the case challenging the constitutionality of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Act in its entirety. In this case, the Petitioner has filed a Petition claiming that the FGM Act is unconstitutional for violating her right to exercise her culture. KELIN together with ISLA have been enjoined as amicus curiae and seek to advance the right to SRHR and health rights in the context of FGM. It also presented the case challenging the levying of fees for the P3 form for victims of violence. The practice of levying fees for the P3 form violates access to justice for the victims of violence.
As a result of this dialogue, the participants were able to:
- Assess the nature of SRHR cases brought before the national courts and the African Commission;
- Assess the policy and legal reforms that have been as a result of these cases;
- Assess whether the cases have directly benefitted the parties to the litigation; and
- Assess the structural change and social change achieved by these cases.
This meeting was crucial to KELIN as it provided a platform for exchanging ideas and experiences in terms of SRHR litigation and helps put KELIN work on SRHR.
To contribute to the discussion and for live updates follow KELIN on our social media platforms: Twitter: @KELINkenya using hashtag #breakingthebarriers #AfricanSRHR
For more information contact:
Human Rights Counsel
Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)
4th Floor, Somak Building, Mombasa Road Tel +254202515790;