John Mathenge, a Nairobi sex worker, was diagnosed with HIV in early July. He has gone public with his story and started a health education organization to help other young gay sex workers avoid contracting the disease.
The Court of Appeals in Mombasa has ruled that the use of forced anal examinations by the Kenyan state is unlawful
On Thursday 22nd March 2018, a three judge bench handed down a ruling in a case brought forward by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) appealing the state’s cruel and degrading treatment of two Kenyan men while under arrest in 2015. The men were arrested in Kwale county, on suspicion that they were gay. They were then subjected to forced anal examinations and HIV testing under a magistrate’s order to determine if they had engaged in consensual sexual acts in private—a crime punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment in Kenya.
The violating examinations, which include being made to lie with legs up in a humiliating position and having instruments forced into your rectum, are widely accepted to have no medical merit. NGLHRC has long argued that the tests are a violation of rights to privacy and dignity and amount to torture.
After a three year legal and public advocacy campaign to end the practice in Kenya, the Court of Appeals ruled in our favor, stating that our clients rights had been violated. We cannot underscore the significance of this win.
When we first lost the case in 2016, we were appalled that a High Court in Kenya could justify inflicting such harm on its own citizens. This judgement overturns that discriminatory ruling, upholding the value of the rights enshrined in our constitution and proving in Dr. Martin Luther King’s words that though “The moral arc of the universe is long, it bends toward justice.” Kenya now joins other countries such as Tunisia in ending the use of these forced exams.
We thank you for your support and hope you will take the time to celebrate this momentous victory with us by sharing this with someone who believes in human rights for all. You can read the full press release on this historic moment here.