Win for gay activists as Kenya rules forced anal exams are unlawful

Uganda men hold a rainbow flag reading "Join hands to end LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Intersex - called Kuchu in Uganda) genocide" as they celebrate on August 9, 2014 during the annual gay pride in Entebbe, Uganda. Uganda's attorney general has filed an appeal against the constitutional court's decision to overturn tough new anti-gay laws, his deputy said on August 9. Branded draconian and "abominable" by rights groups but popular domestically, the six-month old law which ruled that homosexuals would be jailed for life was scrapped on a technicality by the constitutional court on August 1. AFP PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI (Photo credit should read ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Kenya has taken a landmark decision to rule that the use of forced anal examination is illegal.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) challenged the practice following the treatment of two men arrested in 2015.

The men were subjected to forced anal examinations, which police claimed was to find out if they had engaged in anal sex and were gay. They were also forced to undergo HIV testing.

Lawyers for NGLHRC claimed the forced examinations were tantamount to torture and a violation of the right to privacy and dignity.

Head of Legal Affairs for NGLHRC, Njeri Gateru, welcomed the court’s decision.

“We are thankful that the Appeal Court has put Kenyan citizens’ rights first. With this ruling, the judges are saying that we all deserve to be treated with dignity and afforded our basic rights, as enshrined in the Kenyan Constitution.

“The humiliation and pain caused by these useless anal examinations will follow our clients for the rest of their lives.

“However, we are emboldened to see our constitution at work, ensuring that all Kenyans have the right to dignity.”

The decision comes after the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) spoke out against the practice, saying: “Condemn and discourage any form of forced examination of clients, even in the guise of discovering crimes.”

Gay sex remains illegal in Kenya.

Another landmark case is due to come to court after a two-year battle, as the Kenyan High Court is debating whether or not to legalise same-sex relations.

The case, which was first filed in 2016, aims to challenge the discriminatory sections Kenyan Penal Code that criminalize same-sex relations between adults.

NGLHRC has argued against the sections of the Kenyan Penal Code that criminalize consensual same sex relations between adults – and will await a group of the highest judges in the country to make a decision on the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

“The ruling is important because the continued existence of laws that criminalize consensual same sex relations in Kenya allow for the continued discrimination, harassment and violence of the LGBT community.

“Laws like this label the LGBT community as criminals, when in fact they are not,” said said Kari Mugo, the Operations Manager of NGLHRC, to PinkNews.

Since the organisation formed in 2014, it has recorded 1,000 incidents of violations against LGBT people, ranging from murder to mob violence, rape, blackmail and extortion.