Joint Statement on Misinformation, Disinformation, and Homophobic Rhetoric in Response to NGLHRC Supreme Court Ruling

February 28th 2023

Nairobi, 28th February 2023

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Kenya is a significant milestone for human rights in Kenya. We thank the judiciary for their unwavering commitment to upholding the Constitution of Kenya, which guarantees freedom of association under article 36 of the constitution and the right to equal protection under the law for all persons under Article 27 of the Kenyan 2010 Constitution, as illustrated in the wording of the ruling: “ ** 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”**

We are alarmed by the misinformation and disinformation being spread online by public officials, religious organisations and popular artists/celebrities, bloggers/vloggers among others regarding the ruling from the Supreme Court. The impact created by this continues to be far-reaching, extending from online spaces to offline violence and disproportionately affects LGBTIQ+ people. We call on the media to responsibly and accurately report issues affecting the LGBTIQ+ community, we urge all Kenyans to seek accurate information from credible sources and urge duty bearers to take action against any individuals and groups spreading hate speech or inciting violence against LGBTIQ+ individuals. The 2010 Constitution of Kenya expressly prohibits hate speech by stipulating that the right to freedom of expression (Article 33) does not extend to incitement to violence, hate speech and advocacy of hatred that constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or incitement to cause harm.

Misguided statements online or offline often scapegoat LGBTQ+ people and organisations and increase the LGBTIQ+ community’s vulnerability and exposure to violence and human rights violations at work, at home and in recreational spaces. Further, these statements directly conflict with the National Values of human dignity, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, and non- discrimination, as espoused in Chapter 10 of the Constitution.

We condemn any form of hate speech and discriminatory actions directed towards people in Kenya regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. We urge all Kenyans to uphold the Constitution of Kenya, which protects the rights of all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We implore all Kenyans to understand that violence against LGBTIQ+ people is unacceptable and is punishable by law and remind them Queer bodies are not battlegrounds or museums of hatred and inhumanity, that Human Rights are interdependent and indivisible, and that our lives deserve to be protected regardless of people’s feelings or opinions.

Finally, we stand with the LGBTIQ+ community in Kenya and ask that they familiarise themselves with their areas' security and referral mechanisms. Do not be afraid to report injustices to security agencies and reach out to NGLHRC for free legal representation

This is a joint statement by The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), The Eagles for Life Kenya (TEFL-K), galck+, Initiative For Equality And Non-Discrimination (INEND), Bold Network Africa, and Q-Initiative.

For emergency and legal representation, please contact The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission a t +254 700 010574, +254 700010637,+254 700010743

For therapy sessions, kindly reach out to:

galck+ through: galck.org/book

Wazi Therapy Online Platform LGBTQ+ category app.wazi.io/

For more information and interviews, contact:

Annette Atieno, Email aatieno@nglhrc.com

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