Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (29 April) on the Kenyan High Court’s decision on the rights of an LGBTI organisation:
I warmly welcome the decision by the High Court of Kenya. It is a groundbreaking acknowledgement that the right to freedom of assembly and the rights of minorities, including sexual orientation minorities, must be guaranteed full protection, even in the face of widespread existing prejudice. The Federal Government calls upon the Kenyan Government to continue to work towards ensuring LGBTI equality and to resolutely counter all attempts at discrimination.
In a historic judgement on 24 April 2015, after considering the case for more than a year and a half, the High Court of Kenya ruled that the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) must be registered as a non-governmental organisation by the NGO Coordination Board. Over five such applications from the NGLHRC had already been rejected by the NGO Coordination Board since 2012, on the grounds that registration was impermissible because gay and lesbian relationships were a criminal offence and offended Kenyans’ moral and religious convictions. In its judgement, the High Court of Kenya said that a refusal to register the organisation violated the right to freedom of assembly anchored in Article 36 of the Kenyan constitution and emphasised that neither the fact that homosexual acts were a criminal offence nor an alleged rejection of homosexuality by the population on moral or religious grounds justified any restriction of this fundamental right.