Kenya’s Court of Appeal met on March 22, 2018 in the city of Mombasa, and ruled that forced anal examinations are unconstitutional.
The practice of anal examinations are primarily used to determine if men who are accused of homosexuality are actually engaging in same-sex activity. The practice happens all over the world, and usually involves the accused being forced to bend over or lay down while being retrained. Then, doctors either probe the anus or analyze it externally.
Many LGBTQ rights and human rights organizations have been calling for the practice to end in multiple countries. One such organization is the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (or the NGLHRC).
The NGLHRC is an international organization based in Nairobi that filed a constitutional challenge after Kenyan police arrested two men in February of 2015. The two men were forced to go through forced anal exams, HIV and Std tests, and more.
This constitutional challenge led to this new ruling by the country’s Court of Appeal and overturns a 2016 High Court decision.
“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,” Njeri Gateru, who's in charge of Legal Affairs at NGLHRC, said in a statement.
In addition, many Human Rights activists are hoping that this decision will pave the way for more positive change for LGBTQ people in not only Kenya but other countries in Africa.
“The ruling that forced anal exams violate Kenya’s constitution is of tremendous significance,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The ruling affirms the dignity of the two Kenyan men who were subjected to these horrific exams, and it reinforces the understanding that the constitution applies to all Kenyans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“This landmark ruling places Kenya’s courts at the vanguard in affirming that the government cannot deny LGBT people their basic rights. No one should be subjected to forced anal exams, and no one should be deprived of their rights because of who they are or whom they love.”
h/t: Human Rights Watch