Fiona Sampson

Ashoka Fellow
Toronto, ON, Canada
Fellow Since 2013
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world." - Margaret Mead

The equality effect uses international human rights law as a crowbar to pry open justice for women and girls around the world.  Drawing on a team of feisty international lawyers, the equality effect supports its regional legal partners to make women’s/girls’ rights real.  This goal is achieved by conducting legal research, collecting evidence, and developing test case litigation.  In Kenya, the equality effect was responsible for a constitutional claim against the government for failing to protect girls who had been raped (the claimants, all victims of rape between 3-17 years of age, are known collectively as the “160 Girls”); in May 2013, Kenya’s High Court agreed that the police failure to enforce existing rape laws, and police failure to protect girls from rape, is a violation of domestic, regional, and human rights law.

The equality effect is now working to secure the implementation of the High Court’s “160 Girls” decision.  In an unprecedented partnership, the equality effect is working with police, communities and using the law, to hold perpetrators accountable for their violence, and end the climate of impunity for rape.  The work that led to the landmark “160 Girls” ruling will inform equality effect’s newest project in Malawi that also seeks justice for victims of rape.

As three-time Amnesty International award-winner and author Sally Armstrong writes:  “Once, in a very long while, maybe once in a lifetime, you get to witness a story that shifts the way an entire country or continent sees itself.  The process of change is usually daring, certainly time-consuming, invariably costly, occasionally heart-breaking, and eventually an exercise so rewarding that it is the stuff of legends; this is the story of the equality effect.”

Related TopicsCivic Engagement, Law and legal reform, Human Rights & Equality, Civil rights, Gender equity

Citation

This profile was prepared when Fiona Sampson was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
Introduction
Fiona Sampson is fostering a vibrant international network of volunteer lawyers, academics, journalists, and advocates and connecting them to local communities of activists and social workers to ensure that governments where commonwealth law is practiced, uphold, enforce and protect the rights of women and girls.
The New Idea
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

Updates

The Equality Effect uses international human rights law as a crowbar to pry open justice for women and girls around the world.  Drawing on a team of feisty international lawyers, The Equality Effect supports its regional legal partners to make women’s/girls’ rights real. This goal is achieved by conducting legal research, collecting evidence, and developing test case litigation.  In Kenya, the equality effect was responsible for a constitutional claim against the government for failing to protect girls who had been raped (the claimants, all victims of rape between 3-17 years of age, are known collectively as the “160 Girls”). In May 2013, Kenya’s High Court agreed that the police failure to enforce existing rape laws, and police failure to protect girls from rape, is a violation of domestic, regional, and human rights law. The equality effect is now working to secure the implementation of the High Court’s “160 Girls” decision. In an unprecedented partnership, the Equality Effect is working with police, communities and using the law, to hold perpetrators accountable for their violence, and end the climate of impunity for rape. The work that led to the landmark “160 Girls” ruling will inform Equality Effect’s newest project in Malawi that also seeks justice for victims of rape.  As three-time Amnesty International award-winner and author Sally Armstrong writes: “Once, in a very long while, maybe once in a lifetime, you get to witness a story that shifts the way an entire country or continent sees itself. The process of change is usually daring, certainly time-consuming, invariably costly, occasionally heart-breaking, and eventually an exercise so rewarding that it is the stuff of legends; this is the story of the Equality Effect.”
 
For more information visit 160girls.org or get the 160 Girls smartphone apphttp://160girls.org/

 

More For You