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Massive win for LGBTI Kenyans as court rules they can form NGOs

Massive win for LGBTI Kenyans as court rules they can form NGOs

Rainbow Pride at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya

The Court of Appeal in Nairobi has handed a major win to the LGBTI communities in Kenya today (22 March).

The courts dismissed an appeal by the NGO coordination board that sought to block registration of pro-LGBTI organizations.

Previously, the government had appealed a 2015 High Court ruling that allowed queer rights activist to register.

The news is major considering the courts will in May vote on whether to decriminalize homosexuality in the country.

What happened?

The NGO Coordination board had refused to register the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) in March 2013.

They claimed that the name of the organization was ‘unacceptable’ and that it could not register it because Kenya’s penal code ‘criminalizes gay and lesbian liaisons,’ reported Pulse.

A five-judge bench at the Court of Appeal heard the appeal.

But a three out of five majority dismissed the appeal.

The court ruled that, despite the penal code criminalizing certain acts, LGBTI Kenyans deserve the right to form groups.

This is major news for a community so long discriminated against by the governments through anti-LGBTI laws.

LGBTI rights in Kenya

Things aren’t too great in Kenya for LGBTI people, who face many legal challenges here.

The state does not recognise any relationships between persons of the same sex; the Kenyan Constitution bans same-sex marriage.

Moreover, there are no explicit protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

See also

Kenyan gay man wants to change minds with new collection of LGBTI stories

Gay refugees are being attacked in supposed ‘safe havens’ in Kenya

LGBTI discrimination costs Kenya up to $1.3 billion every year