Kenya: Court orders government to register gay rights group

AP News
Posted: Apr 27, 2015 12:53 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan judges on Monday ordered a government agency to register a human rights group representing the country's gay people.

The Kenyan constitution recognizes and protects the rights of minorities, the three judges of the High Court said in their ruling. The Non-Governmental Organization Co-ordination Board had refused to register Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Intersex Queer-Kenya rights group on religious and moral grounds.

The Attorney General, the NGO Board and religious groups had opposed the registration of the gay association but the judges said the Kenyan Constitution does not allow limitation of rights on moral or religious grounds.

"In Kenya, the Constitution is supreme," stated the ruling of the ruling of Judges Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and George Odunga. The judges said the state "cannot rely on religious texts or its views of what the moral and religious convictions of Kenyans are to justify the limitation of a right."

Rights activist Eric Gitari tried to register the non-governmental organization whose objective is to address the violence and human rights abuses suffered by gay and lesbian people.

After the NGO Co-ordination Board rejected Gitari's application, he went to court in September 2013 claiming that his rights had been infringed.

In Kenya, homosexuality is not a crime, but the law forbids sodomy and same sex partners are likely to receive extra attention from police. The Kenya gay community has complained of harassment, which in some cases is violent.