ICPD+25

Armed GSU officers scatter 'bloody' anti-abortion ICPD protests

Protestors had pulled up two trash cans outside the KICC at 2pm, where the conference is taking place.

In Summary

• Armed GSU officers arrived 45 minutes later and scattered the protests but CitizenGo, a Spain-based conservative advocacy group, said they will regroup Thursday at 2pm.

• But many of ICPD aims have yet to be met. The target of reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent has not been achieved, for instance.

GSU officers disperse the anti-abortion protesters outside KICC, the ICPD25 conference venue, in Nairobi, on November 13, 2019.
GSU officers disperse the anti-abortion protesters outside KICC, the ICPD25 conference venue, in Nairobi, on November 13, 2019.

Armed GSU officers yesterday scattered a 'bloody' protest organised by pro-life group CitizenGo to oppose an abortion agendum at the International Conference on Population and Development. 

About 20 protestors pulled up two trash cans outside the KICC at 2pm, where the conference was taking place.

They said the cans - spattered in red paint - symbolised similar containers allegedly used in abortion centres to discard "baby body parts".

“We aim to show what abortion centers could do in Africa if we ever were to let our guard down. This has happened in many parts of the world, and this is what ICPD25 wants for the African countries,” CitizenGO Campaigns Director for Africa, Ann Kioko said.

The protestors also displayed figure 1,048,937, which they said is the number of signatures against abortion, collected across the world.

Armed General Service Unit officers arrived 45 minutes later and scattered the protests but CitizenGo, a Spain-based conservative advocacy group, said they will regroup today at 2pm.

The group said 87 per cent of Kenyans do not support abortion, while 90 per cent reject homosexuality.

This is according to a July 2014 study conducted by Ipsos Kenya for the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum.

"Recently, a Kenyan high court affirmed this by throwing out the registration of the Gay Coalition in that country," Kioko said. 

Abortion is illegal in Kenya, except when a woman's life or health is in danger.

The anti-abortion protesters outside the KICC on November 13, 2019, during the ICPD.
The anti-abortion protesters outside the KICC on November 13, 2019, during the ICPD.

The Nairobi ICPD meeting marks the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development, which took place in Cairo in 1994.

At that conference, 179 governments adopted a Programme of Action, recognising that reproductive health, women's empowerment and gender equality are the pathway to sustainable development.

The Nairobi meeting is attended by more than 6,000 participants. 

It was opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday morning.

"Today thousands gather here in Nairobi from over 100 countries, dozens of international organisations, over 200 civil society groups, and many leaders from the private sector,” President Uhuru said at the opening of the Summit.

"Because our women are the gatekeepers to family health, they exert such a powerful influence on intergenerational outcomes for their children,” he noted.

Leaders said progress has been made since the original ICPD in Cairo, including improvements in maternal health and expanded access to voluntary family planning.

But many of its aims have yet to be met. The target of reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent has not been achieved, for instance.

“We still have a long way to go before we can say that we have achieved that goal,” said Arthur Erken of UNFPA, which is co-convening the Summit alongside the Governments of Kenya and Denmark.

(edited by O. Owino)