TJRC to give women special hearing

March 15, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, March 15 – The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) on Tuesday said it would make special provision for women to air and document historical injustices committed against them discreetly.

TJRC Chief Executive Officer Patricia Nyaundi noted that women had so far been covering up crimes meted against them with only six percent admitting that they had suffered sexual violations.

Ms Nyaundi said that the TJRC would organise forums as well as interpersonal interviews for women so as to help them present their issues. 

"Women need their own spaces and what we have learnt as a commission is that women will tell their stories in their own way; maybe it will not be through a statement but it could be through person to person interviews which we cannot call a statement," she said.

She further explained that the special hearings would run concurrently with the ordinary hearings which kick off in North Eastern province next month. She added that 48 percent of all the statements that were collected were from women, with Nairobi leading in number.

"More women than men recorded statements in Nairobi and the same was replicated in Marsabit and Moyale. Coast region had the least number of women recording their statements," she explained.

Ms Nyaundi was speaking after a meeting with leaders from North Eastern province.

Among the attendees was Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chairperson Rukia Subow who lauded the move by the commission saying it would help ensure women got a space to have their issues resolved.

"There are women who don\’t want to come out and talk about what happened to them and some of them are even married with many children. Most have been keeping secrets where violence was committed against them," she said.

Meanwhile North Eastern political leaders asked the commission to extend the time it spent on hearings in the region arguing that it had suffered the biggest brunt of historical injustices.

Defence Minister Yusuf Haji and Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim who were present underscored the importance of the commission\’s work.

"Every person from the region has a relative who was killed. We cannot just forget the past, who will forget on behalf of the dead? These injustices need to be brought out into the open. And while I understand the TJRC is working within its calendar it is my wish that it be extended so that the process is carried out thoroughly," said Mr Maalim.

Energy assistant minister Mohamed Mohamud urged the Commission to carry out intensive civic education so as to ensure that people knew how to engage it.

TJRC Acting Chairperson Tecla Namachanja noted that the commission received 5,308 statements (out of about 29,000 statements) from the province. She added that the region had suffered issues of marginalisation, massacres, extra judicial killings and murder.

"Of the statements we received 53 percent were from men and 47 percent from women. The human rights violations recorded indicate that land, illegal killings, serious injury, torture and rape are the most featured," she said.

Hearings in the region kick off in Garissa where they will take between April 12 and14. They will then be followed by those in Wajir on April 18 and 20, then Mandera on April 26 through 29, followed by Moyale in April 29 and May 2. The hearings will then be taken to Marsabit where they will be held on the 4th and 5th before being concluded in Isiolo on May 9, 10 and 11.

The leaders also called for the financial independence of the commission.

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