A Joint Statement by Civil Society in Kenya
On February 24, 2023, the apex court said LGBTQ persons have a right to association and reaffirmed this position on September 12.
However, this monumental decision was followed by a series of anti-LGBTQ protests in Mombasa and Lamu.
Blatant incitement to violence characterized the protests—Nyali MP Mohamed Ali rallied his supporters to kill people with different sexual orientations, audaciously invoking religious texts to justify this indefensible stance.
Now, this hate campaign is coming to the capital, and we know this will affect LGBTQ persons' lives because previous street actions placed this group in harm’s way.
We take this opportunity to unequivocally condemn all the previous and ongoing nefarious activities that continue to expose this community's rights to life, security, and dignity.
The Constitution and the court’s decision must be respected.
We call upon the Kenyan police to immediately intervene and take legal action against those who plan to harm LGBTQ persons. We wish to remind the promoters of hate and the public that under Article 33(2) of the Constitution:
The right to freedom of expression does not extend to: (a)propaganda for war; (b)incitement to violence; (c)hate speech; or (d) advocacy for hatred that: (i)constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or incitement to cause harm; or (ii)is based on any ground of discrimination specified or contemplated in Article 27(4)
We further demand that the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) exercises its investigative mandate and collaborate with other actors in the criminal justice system to ensure effective prosecution for the acts of hate speech in this situation.
Unfortunately, this delicate matter was recently brought to the attention of the police and NCIC, who seem to have abdicated their constitutional and statutory duties of maintaining law and order and facilitating respect for diversity, respectively.
We also call upon the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to act against Mohamed Ali, whose conduct in this situation damages the leadership and integrity values and standards established for State Officers in Article 73 of the Constitution.
Finally, we wish to oblige Kenyans to exercise more tolerance and restraint—having diverse sexual orientations and gender identities is not a crime but a fundamental aspect of human diversity.
We must nurture a more inclusive and accommodating culture devoid of cruel and discriminatory motives and practices. No one should ever dare to impose their religious beliefs and social values on others, for our Constitution guarantees all people's freedom of religion and beliefs.
Let it be known that we will not relent in our unwavering pursuit of justice, equality, and the protection of the rights and dignity of all.
- Kenya Human Rights Commission-KHRC
- International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
- Defenders Coalition
- Katiba Institute
- Independent Medico-Legal Unit-MLU
- INUKA ni Sisi Trust
- Kituo cha Sheria
- Siasa Place
- Constitution Education Reforms Consortium-CRECO
- Social Justice Centers
- Partnership for Empowerment Network (PEN)
- Usalama Reforms Forum
- National Students Guild
- Grace Agenda
- Democracy without Boarders
- Kawangware Paralegal Trust
- Kariobangi Paralegal Network
- Center for memory and Development
- Forum for Civic Participation in Governance
- Women Collective Kenya
- Coalition for Grassroots Human Rights Defenders-Kenya
- East Africa Legal Service Network
- Feminists for Peace Rights and Justice Center
- Raise Your Voice
- Women in Grassroots Uprising
- Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH)
- Warembo Unique
- Viba Explore
- Africa’s Voice of Nature
- Civil Society Network
For media inquiries, please contact Ernest Cornel at [email protected] or 0722253893.