Forced Anal Examinations for Gay Men are Stopped in Kenya


22 March 2018

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Rashima Kwatra,, +1 (917) 859-7555

Forced Anal Examinations for Gay Men are Stopped in Kenya

Today, a Court of Appeals in Kenya, led by a 5 judge bench, ruled that forced anal examinations are contrary to the law. Forced anal examinations have largely been used to “prove” whether not not a man is homosexual in countries where homosexuality is criminalized. This practice has been decried by organizations across the globe as dehumanizing and as amounting to torture, not to mention being discredited by the scientific community as holding no value as proof.

The case came to the courts after two suspected gay men were arrested in 2015 and forced to undergo both anal examinations and HIV tests, in order to determine if they had engaged in consensual intercourse.

The men were represented by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) in Kenya, a leading LGBTIQ organization providing pro bono legal services to many in the community.

In a press release disseminated by NGLHRC, Njeri Gateru, Head of Legal Affairs, said,

“We are thankful that the Appeal Court has put Kenyan citizens’ rights first. With this ruling, the judges are saying that we all deserve to be treated with dignity and afforded our basic rights, as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution.”

Currently, under Kenya’s Penal Code, same-sex behaviour is criminalized, with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. Currently, Kenya’s High Court is considering a case that could decriminalize homosexuality, the next court hearing will be on April 26th.

While this is good news for Kenya, other countries continue to implement this practice. With ongoing and increasing crackdowns on LGBTIQ people, reportedly both Egyptian and Tanzanian authorities have forced alleged gay men to undergo anal exams.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director, OutRight Action International, comments on the ruling,

“Forced anal examinations amount to torture, and no one should ever be exposed to such a degrading and dehumanizing experience. The Kenyan Courts ruled in favor of international law and in favor of human dignity. Other countries should follow suit and put an end to this discredited practice.”



Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.