Kenya appeals court rules LGBT group can register as NGO
March 22, 2019
A Kenyan Court of Appeal on Friday denied an appeal of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Coordination Board that sought to deny an LGBT group’s registration.
In 2015 the High Court ruled that the group, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission(NGLHRC), could register with Kenya’s NGO board with the words “gay” and “lesbian” in its name, but the Coordination board appealed this decision, arguing the organization was “unacceptable,” and that it could not register it because Kenya’s penal code “criminalizes gay and lesbian liaisons.”
Three judges out of five on the Court of Appeal in Mombasa ruled in favor of the organization. Judge Philip Waki said that the penal code does not criminalize the LGBT’s ability to form a group and that they have a constitutional right to freedom of association.
According to a tweet from NGLHRC, three judges dismissed the appeal and agreed with the lower court’s ruling that “ALL, including LGBT persons, should be allowed to form an organization and that what is criminalized is the act (in the penal code) and not the person, the Kenyan.”
The ruling comes exactly one year to the date since a Kenyan court ruled against a law that required Kenyans to undergo forced anal examinations when suspected of same-sex relations. The organization remains in a legal battle concerning homosexual acts currently punishable under Kenya’s penal code, a decision set for May 24 this year.