FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, 23 OCTOBER 2019
On 24 and 25 October 2019, the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (“ISLA”) and Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (“KELIN”) will make submissions as joint amicus curiae in a case in which Dr Tatu Kamau, as the Petitioner, is challenging the constitutional validity of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (“the Anti-FGM Act”). The case is before the Constitutional Division of the High Court in Kenya (“the Court”). It is confirmed before a three-judge bench in court room 18, 4th Floor, Milimani Law Courts as detailed in the Cause List available here: http://kenyalaw.org/kl/index.php?id=8284. ISLA and KELIN sought admission as amici curiae in this matter as it relates to Kenya’s obligation to protect, prevent and respond to violence against women where Female Genital Mutilation (“FGM”) is the form of violence that is implicated.
Dr Kamau filed a petition seeking a declaration from the Court that the Anti-FGM Act is unconstitutional for being in violation of adult consenting women’s right to culture, health and equality. That the practice of FGM seems entrenched in certain communities in Kenya as a social norm is fundamentally the basis of Dr Kamau’s petition. Her submission is that adult women from these communities who opt to partake in the practice and those who support the practice should not be subjected to the sanctions set out in the Anti-FGM Act.
The Court is asked to consider the rationale for regulating the practice of FGM through legislation and legislative sanctions within the context of a constitutional democracy with a supreme Bill of Rights. There are proponents for and against the use of legislative sanctions to eliminate the practice of FGM. However, the submissions that ISLA and KELIN have placed before the Court are aimed at demonstrating that in enacting the Anti-FGM Act, Kenya has acted in line with the International standards requiring it to enact gender sensitive legislation to prevent, protect against and respond to FGM. Additionally, that Kenya has acted in line with the standards set out in the African Human Rights system and in the practice of comparative African states. Finally, in considering the question of an individual’s consent to FGM, ISLA and KELIN will address the Court on why consent to FGM is immaterial to the obligation on Kenya to protect human rights and eliminate violence against women.
For further enquiries kindly contact:
ISLA VAW Lawyer
Tel: +27 11 338 9028/ +27 72 740 1764
KELIN Human Rights Counsel
Tel: +254 71 026 1408