Fears of rape in Kenya’s slums ‘trap women’

Fears of rape in Kenya's slums 'trap women'

Fear of sexual violence is keeping poor Kenyan women away from communal toilets, and increasing the risk of disease, Amnesty International says.

In a report on Kenya’s slums, the human rights group said women and girls were afraid to leave their shacks at night.

As a result they were risking contracting diseases such as dysentery and cholera, the report said.

About 60% of Nairobi residents, about two million people, live in slums with limited access to water and sanitation.

Amnesty criticised a lack of policing in the shantytowns and the government’s failure to enforce planning laws and regulations.

It called on the Kenyan government to address violence against women and to ensure women’s access to sanitation and public security services.
‘Flying toilets’

“Women and girls in Nairobi’s slums live under the constant threat of sexual violence,” the report said.

“Unable to leave their one-roomed houses after dark, many women in informal settlements resort to ‘flying toilets’ – using plastic bags thrown from the home to dispose of waste.”

Godfrey Odongo, Amnesty’s east Africa researcher, said there was “a huge gap between what the government commits to do, and what is going on in the slums every day”.

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