New York, New York (September 12, 2023) - Outright International extends its heartfelt congratulations to the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) on yet another significant victory for LGBTIQ people in Kenya. We stand with NGLHRC in celebrating the Supreme Court of Kenya’s decision this week to uphold its landmark judgment of February 24, 2023, which ordered the authorities to allow NGLHRC to register as a non-governmental organization legally.
This affirmation not only reinforces the Court's previous verdict but also affirms the critical importance of NGLHRC's work in promoting justice, equality, and the protection of LGBTIQ people’s human rights in Kenya. Over the last ten years, the organization’s commitment and dedication have been instrumental in challenging routine discrimination, violence, and other human rights violations faced by LGBTI Kenyans.
After Kenya’s NGO Board denied NGLHRC the right to register in 2013 because its name included the words “gay” and “lesbian,” NGLHRC filed a court challenge, claiming that its members’ rights to freedom of association were being violated arbitrarily based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in violation of non-discrimination provisions in the 2010 constitution. The initial victory in the Constitutional Division of the High Court in Nairobi in 2015 was a significant milestone. The court listened to the voices of LGBTIQ Kenyans, weighed their constitutional rights objectively, and, in doing so, ensured that all Kenyans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, could access the courts as a platform for seeking justice. In 2019, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling, solidifying the progress made in the fight for equality and inclusion.
On February 24, 2023, the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal ruling. Its decision was followed by a predictable backlash from political elites who sought to exclude groups of Kenyans from their constitutional rights, including member of Parliament George Peter Kaluma, who filed a motion challenging the ruling.
We are pleased to see that the Supreme Court of Kenya has dismissed the motion, recognizing that it does not meet the requirements for review as prescribed by statute and applicable case law since Kaluma was not an interested party at any point in the trajectory of the case. The Court’s ruling pointedly called out Kaluma for filing a frivolous motion, given that he is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a Member of Parliament.
Outright International stands in solidarity with the NGLHRC, applauding its unwavering efforts and commitment to advancing LGBTIQ people’s fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom of association. We remain committed to supporting NGLHRC's vital work and advocating for a world where everyone can live with dignity, free from discrimination and violence.
"As emphasized in a new report released by Outright International on September 14, international law requires governments to uphold people’s rights to register organizations and participate in civil space, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Together, we can continue to make a difference and create a more inclusive and just society for all.
With heartfelt congratulations and best wishes,
Outright International Executive Director