In a historic a significant win for human and LGBTI rights, Kenya’s Court of Appeal has ruled to uphold a 2015 High Court decision ordering the government to allow an LGBTI rights group to officially register as an organisation.
According to reports, that court ruled that the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordination Board must officially register the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) as an NGO.
Speaking on the victory, Njeri Gateru, who is the Executive Director of NGLHRC said, “The judges have chosen to stand by the constitution that allows for like-minded persons to meet and organise, formally.”
“That is a freedom enshrined in the constitution and the fact that the Court of Appeals agrees with us and allows us to register as an organisation is not only a win for us as an organisation, but a win for human rights.”
Njeri added that “The ruling only brings inclusivity and sets a positive precedent for other rights organisations, in Kenya and around Africa.”
Historically NGLHRC has struggled with registration since it was founded in 2012 after its first attempt to be registered in 2013 was rejected on the basis that it was for gay and lesbian people.
Following the rejection, NGLHRC’s co-founder and former Executive Director, Eric Gitari, challenged the decision by filing a petition, citing Article 36 of the Constitution of Kenya, which protects every Kenyan citizen’s freedom to associate with others.
Following the petition, in 2015 the High Court ruled in favour of NGLHRC stating that “As a society, once we recognise that persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex are human beings … we must accord them the human rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution to all persons, by virtue of their being human, in order to protect their dignity as human as stated in Article 19(2) of the constitution of Kenya.”