Kenyan GLBT Advocacy Group Wins Historic Court Victory

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An GLBT advocacy group in Kenya has won an historic court victory that will allow it to formally register with the government.

The victory could possibly open the door to the granting of greater rights for Kenya’s GLBT citizens.

The ruling overturns a bureacratic decision that blocked Kenya’s National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission from operating as an officially recognized nongovernmental organization, on the grounds that Kenya’s law “criminalizes gay and lesbian liaisons.”

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That decision was based on an obscure remnant of colonial law left over from British rule, which “makes it a crime for someone to have ‘carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.”

However, that has now been overruled, when the High Court of Kenya overruled that decision by Kenya’s NGO Coordination Board, determining it was wrong to deny the group’s application simply because it included the words “gay” and “lesbian,”

The decision has been welcomed by international observers. “The court decision is a significant victory for the GLBT community, not only in Kenya, but elsewhere in Africa where GLBT groups have faced similar obstacles to registration,” said Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch, in a written statement. “An GLBT organization’s ability to register and advocate for its members is fundamental for free association, free speech, and equality under the law.”

In the ruling, the judges of the Constitutional Court in Nairobi also expressed general skepticism about the relevance of the pre-independence statute, which amounts to an archaic “antibuggery” law in modern Kenyan life, which some international observers believe could led to decriminalisation

 Article | Levi Joule.

 

 

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