Kenya: Landmark Decriminalise Same Sex Case #Repeal162

By | Kenya, News | No Comments
Exciting news from Kenya from the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission: #Repeal162
In 2013, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) embarked on an arduous strategic litigation journey that began when we sued for our right to register as a non-governmental organization. We came up against the opposition of Kenya’s NGO Board, the Attorney General and an organized religious front that attempted to curtail our constitutional rights.
We won that case and established that sexual and gender minorities are protected under Kenya’s 2010 Constitution.
Five years later, NGLHRC continues its work in public interest litigation with its most important case to date. In January, our case seeking to decriminalize consensual same sex received a mention at the High Court and was granted a hearing date. On February 22nd and 23rd this petition, challenging the constitutionality of Sections 162 a), c) and 165 of the Penal Code, will be heard in front of a three judge bench. If successful, the petition has the potential to drastically change the lives of many in Kenya’s LGBTIQ community by removing an outdated law used to criminalize, discriminate, harass and extort them.
All eyes will be on Kenya during this historic hearing.
2018 is also set to be the year that NGLHRC receives judgements on its two other strategic litigation cases, currently in the appeals phase:
• Petition 51 of 2015: Freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under Article 25 of the Constitution of Kenya heard this week is set to receive a judgement on March 15th, 2018.
• A hearing date for our registration case, Petition 440 of 2013: Freedom Of Association Under Article 36 of the Constitution of Kenya is scheduled to be heard on the 15th of March 2018.
Landmark cases like this do not come cheap. By far, the costs of strategic litigation are our biggest financial burden year in year out. But cases like these not only change lives but also rewrite history. The impact of this kind of work is something NGLHRC, our partners and our community believe strongly in.
Which is why we need your support.
What we need:
1. DONATE: All of February and March we will be fundraising to offset our litigation costs with the goal of raising a million shillings. We know we can do this with your help. To donate, visit our M-Changa page.
[As an added bonus, the first 30 donations of Ksh 5,000 and above will receive a free NGLHRC coffee mug and sticker as a thank you (delivery within Nairobi).]
2. SHARE: Tell your friends, family and co-workers about us. Give the people in your life who support LGBT rights an opportunity to make an impact.
3. SPREAD THE WORD: Talk about our case. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and participate in our #Repeal162 campaign.
As always, we couldn’t do this work without you.

BREAKING: Kenya Medical Association Issues Statement on Forced Examinations

By | Kenya, News | No Comments

Breaking statement from the Kenya Medical Association: A groundbreaking victory for Kenyan activists.

“This past weekend something truly historic happened. As you are aware, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) has mounted a massive campaign towards ending Forced Anal Examinations in Kenya, complementing our litigation work on the same. After two years of engagement with partners—specifically on forced anal examinations and STI testing in the collection of criminal evidence—the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) issued a statement in support of our fight.

This move comes after internal consultations between the NGLHRC and members of the KMA who have voiced their support for our campaign. 

The KMA is the premier Association working to improve the welfare of doctors in the country as well as advocating for quality healthcare for all Kenyans. It currently has close to 3000 members.

Following a Governing Council Meeting held on September 23rd, 2017 at which the NGLHRC’s concerns surrounding the complicity of medical professionals in forced medical examinations were raised, the KMA Governing Council issued a press statement resolving, among other things:

  • To condemn and discourage any form of forced examination of clients, even in the guise of discovering crimes, and to advise practitioners to always conduct consenting procedures for ALL clients they examine.
  • To advise practitioners to ALWAYS adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct in their interactions with all clients under all circumstances, including those under police custody.
  • To call on the National Government to ensure that health workers operate in safe and secure environments, free of intimidation or duress, including from officers in government or the security forces.
  • Through our Reproductive Health Committee, to organize a forum to address the health needs and rights of members of the LGBTIQ community.

Read the full press statement here.

This is a first for Kenya, and proof that our work is bearing fruit!

NGLHRC is encouraged by this progressive statement as we work to end the use of forced anal examinations, which have been shown to be discriminatory and bear no scientific basis as to their findings. In fact, such exams have been disproven within the medical community as a means to ascertain whether individuals have engaged in anal sex. As Dr. Bichanga Osiemo, a medical professional working with Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) and a member of the KMA Standing Committee on Human Rights notes, “the lack of standardization of the practice [examinations are conducted using various methods and at the discretion of practitioners] means the practice is not derived from knowledge gained in medical school but instead, it is something cultured. Therefore, there is no established basis on which practitioners form their conclusions.”

The support of medical doctors in ending the practice is crucial as evidenced in countries like Tunisia where a ban on forced anal examinations  to prove homosexuality was recently issued, in part due to strong opposition from the medical community.

We, the NGLHRC team, support medical doctors in Kenya who are standing up for the rights of the LGBTIQ community to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Sign the petition against forced anal examinations.”

Pan Africa ILGA congratulates the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Kenya Medical Association and Kenyan activists in this groundbreaking victory and join them in the hope that this win will spread throughout the continent.

Litigation Update:

NGLHRC’s case appealing the use of forced anal examinations, Petition 51 of 2015: Freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under Article 25 of the Constitution of Kenya  is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, October 11th, 2017.

The case regards the forced anal examinations and STI testing of two men in Kwale county in 2015. In June 2016, the High Court of Mombasa sided with law enforcement that this was a legitimate means of gathering evidence of consensual same sex. NGLHRC is appealing this discriminatory ruling.”