The Kenya chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya) found that women suffer the most during ethnic conflicts. A fact-finding mission revealed that women living in and around areas of repeated civil conflicts experience increased violence, poverty and health and hygiene problems.
FIDA-Kenya member Njoki Ndung’u reported, “There are many internally displaced people in Kenya today and it is unfortunate that the most affected are women .... We have even encountered cases of rape but the women are too poor to litigate.”
Interviewers talked to widows who are losing property because they have no way to prove that it belongs to them. FIDA also reported on 150 women and 400 children that are camped at a Catholic church in Lamurdiac. The women are being forced to protect the camp themselves, and are living on one meal a day.
Ndung’u added, “Special needs of women concerning personal hygiene and their health and dignity are undermined in such situations.”
FIDA-Kenya is urging the Kenya government to set up a relief fund for victims of the violence that would enable the women to gain access to their land and rebuild their homes.
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