GIVEN the emotive impact of the petition seeking the repeal of a section of the law that decriminalise consensual gay sex in Kenya and the expected public backlash, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCHR) has requested the police to beef up security for sexual minority groups.
Open the link below for backgrounder:
The commission wants the police to enhance security within the court precincts and throughout the country and further ensure that there is no breach of law and order following the court decree.
According to statistics which can be verified through respective OB numbers at various police stations attacks on gays and other sexual minorities increased in 2018.
Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression(SOGIE) people experienced increased threats and intimidation, physical assault, sexual violence like corrective rape against lesbians, eviction, blackmail, arrests and detention and even three murders that were reported in Kisii.
According to the security survey, gays topped the list of those whose sexual orientation led to violations against them, followed by bisexuals,, lesbians, trans and queers.
Change the tide
The SOGIE petition at the high court contends that the section 162 of the constitution which needs to repealed has denied SOGIE people “the rights to privacy, dignity, health, equality and non discrimination and freedom and security of the persons.”
If successful, the petition has the potential to change the tide for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression in Kenya and on the entire African continent.
The petitioners- The gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya(GALCK), the National gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission(NGLHRC) and the Nyanza Rift Valley&Western Kenya Network(NYARWEK) has urged the court to declare as unconstitutional the sections that are in violation of rights guaranteed to all Kenyans irrespective of their sexual orientation.
“The existence of these laws within the Penal Code validates stigma. discrimination and violence towards individuals who do not conform to society’s expectations and gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation,” Becky Mududa of NYARWEK said.
According to the petitioners the pushing to the underground, the SOGIE people has only resulted in prevalence of HIV and high re-infection rates as there is fear of accessing health services, lubricants and condoms during sexual intercourse.
“These are people whose perceived orientation continues to stigmatise, they are denied their rights in the social space and their rights have been violated,” Mududa said.
The petitioners say that the use of old, colonial ere laws to discriminate against a subset of Kenyans goes against the supreme law of Kenya-the constitution.
They say the repeal of Section 162 is NOT about non consensual sex, sexual conduct with minors or sexual conduct in public.”The Sexual Offenses Act and the penal Code takes care of such acts,” Mududa added.
According to the NYARWEK coordinator the repeal of Section 162 is not about conversation of children to homosexuality and recruitment.
The ruling whichever way it goes will help change the narrative and ignite interest on recognition and protection of fundamental human rights on SOGIE issues.
“The petition acknowledges that Article(2) of the Constitution recognises marriage between a man and a woman and as such #repeal162 is NOT about legalising gay marriage but to promote constitutionalism , equality and the rule of law and to ask for the protection of human rights for all as enshrined in the constitution of Kenya,” Mududa said.