The Kenyan Supreme Court on Friday in a 3-2 ruling said an LGBTQ and intersex rights group must be allowed to register as a non-governmental organization.
Eric Gitari, the former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, in 2013 challenged the Kenya NGO Coordination Board’s decision not to allow him to register the NGLHRC as an NGO because it contained the words “gay” or “lesbian.” The Kenyan High Court and the country’s Court of Appeal ruled in Gitari’s favor in 2015 and 2019 respectively. “The court was of the view that the appellant’s decision was discriminatory and that it would be unconstitutional to limit the right to associate, through denial of registration of an association, purely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the applicants,” reads the ruling. “The court noted that by refusing to register the NGO, the persons were convicted before they contravened the law.
The court however pointed out that all persons, whether heterosexual, lesbian, gay, intersex or otherwise, will be subject to sanctions if they contravene existing laws, including Sections 162, 163 and 165 of the Penal Code.” NGLCC in a tweet described the ruling as a “victory for Kenya’s LGBTIQ+ community.” “The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the lower courts’ rulings is a triumph for justice and human rights,” said NGLHRC Executive Director Njeri Gateru in a press release the Human Dignity Trust, a London-based human rights group, issued. “At a time where the Kenyan LGBTIQ+ community is decrying the increased targeting and violence; this decision affirms the spirit and intention of the Constitution to protect all Kenyans and guarantee their rights.” Kenya is among the countries in which consensual same-sex