A 10-year legal battle of an attempt to have The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission(NGLHRC) registered with the Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) Coordination Board ended with triumph on 24th February 2023 after Justice prevailed with the Supreme Court Of Kenya affirming the Registration with the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ in its title.
NGLHRC Lodged a petition at the High Court asserting their right to register an association with the objectives of protecting and promoting the rights of LGBTI+ people in Kenya after the NGO board declined to accent their registration after three attempts.
The High Court found in our favour, stating that the NGO Co-ordination Board had violated NGLHRC’s rights to non-discrimination and declared that the Board had contravened the provisions of article 36 of the Constitution of Kenya in failing to accord a fair and just treatment to gay and lesbian persons living in Kenya seeking registration of an association of their choice.
However, Dissatisfied with the High Court’s decision, the NGO Coordination Board appealed to the Court of Appeal. On a 3-2 vote, the Court found in NGLHRC’s favour as the Board failed to establish any grounds that justified the limitation on NGLHRC’s right to associate.
In their landmark decision, the judges stated
‘ Given that the right to freedom of association is a human right, vital to the functioning of any democratic society as well as an essential prerequisite enjoyment of other fundamental rights and freedoms, we hold that this right is inherent in everyone irrespective of whether the views they are seeking to promote are popular or not … As such, we agree with the reasoning of the High Court that just like everyone else, LGBTQ+ have a right to freedom of association which includes the right to form an association of any kind’
JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT
Initiative for Equality and Non Discrimination (INEND) is a local nonprofit organization that researches strategies for equality and acceptance in the coast region of Kenya and shares experiences with other stakeholders in an effort to contribute towards tolerance, non-discrimination and acceptance of gender and sexual minorities.