The Current

'160 Girls' landmark lawsuit ruling propels Kenyan police to develop better protection training with lessons from Canada

Last year, 160 Kenyan girls successfully sued their government for failing to protect them from assault. Their organization wants Canada's help to make sure Kenyan justice doesn't fail any more children.
Last year, 160 Kenyan girls successfully sued their government for failing to protect them from assault. Their organization wants Canada's help to make sure Kenyan justice doesn't fail any more children. (Reuters/Noor Khamis)

Warning: Some of what you'll hear in this segment is disturbing.


Kenya's police are seeking help after the country's landmark ruling that faulted its government for not protecting, girls and young women from rape. The Canadian organization that helped win that court case is still involved and training for Kenyan police courtesy of Canadian police is set to begin.

⇒ In Kenya, a woman or girl is raped every 30 minutes.

⇒ While rape is illegal here the law is rarely enforced and girls are often assaulted by the very officials in charge of protecting them.

⇒ In eastern Kenya, 160 girls, all victims, some as young as 3 were determined to seek justice.

⇒ In May 2013, with legal help, they secured a landmark court order ensuring the enforcement of existing laws

- 160 Girls Project - The Equality Effect

A special kind of history was made last May, by a group of Kenyan girls known as the "160 Girls." They sued their government for failing to protect them from rape. And they won. A Canadian human rights lawyer was involved in that landmark ruling.

Charity was just four years old when she was assaulted, and her sister Suzanne was six. Charity, Suzanne and girls like them are getting justice. In the groundbreaking lawsuit, Kenyan police were blamed for creating a "climate of impunity" for the rapists. They were told to enforce the existing laws and take action against the perpetrators, or face fines. This week Kenyan police are in Toronto to develop training to help police better handle rape cases.

Journalist Sally Armstrong shared Charity and Suzanne's story on the CBC Radio program, Ideas.

Listen to Part One and Part Two of documentary,The New Revolutionaries

The lawsuit against the Kenyan government was the initiative of the 160 Girls project, a joint effort of 'the equality effect', a Canadian charitable organization, and its partner, Ripple International, in Kenya.

  • Fiona Sampson is a human rights lawyer and executive director of the 'equality effect', she was part of that legal challenge.

  • Masoud Mwinyi Masudi is the Senior Superintendent of Police in Kenya.

  • Tom McCluskie is an inspector with the Vancouver Police Department. He is now involved in training with the Vancouver Police Department, and internationally, in the area of sex crimes.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar.

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