HUMAN RIGHTS EXCHANGE FORUM: University of Nairobi, Mombasa Campus Law Students and GSM persons

HUMAN RIGHTS EXCHANGE FORUM: University of Nairobi, Mombasa Campus Law Students and GSM persons


Law students play a very integral role in advancing Gender and Sexual Minority (GSM) human rights issues. The same is so because they are the next players in the legal industry. With a lot of rigid legal players in the legal field, it has become hard for the GSM community to access justice as most of the legal players i.e., Judges, magistrates and advocates tend to rely more on morality and what they believe in as opposed to the law.

It is hard to change the mentality of the legal players in the field now, because most of them, while in the law school, never had a chance to interrogate the laws on GSM persons. The engagement was therefore useful as it was an eye opener for the law students on how well the law should be interpreted to work for the people as opposed to the people working for the law.

The forum was a two-day forum, day one involved students giving their lived realities and making students understand the GSM community issues and live reality well. This was done by one of the community members. On day one also, students were able to share what they have heard and what they think of the GSM community.

Discussions on day two majorly revolved around the laws, and how best they should be interpreted. Since there are different interpretation of the laws in Kenya by different people, the facilitator asked the students on their interpretation of Sec 162 of the penal code, article 27 of the constitution and article 45 of the constitution.

The University of Nairobi, Mombasa Campus law students after a heated discussion, unanimously agreed that article 45 was discriminative to the extend that it only recognizes marriage between persons of opposite sex. This discussion led to the interrogation of the marriage Act and the children’s Act. On section 162 of the penal code, students noted that it infringes on the constitution of Kenya on privacy. The students noted that in proving the crime in the section, the state has to infringe on ones right to dignity.


To create new legal allies who can appreciate the needs of GSM community members.


Through these 2 days forum, we managed to have the upcoming law stakeholders appreciate the rights of GSM in Kenya, create new allies in the journey to repeal section 165 and also trigger law students’ interest in doing more research on matters GSM rights


The training was helpful in increaseing access to legal information to GSM persons . It was also helpful as students were able to appreciate the legal needs of the GSM members, on a first hand basis.


The training was delivered using facilitation, and open discussions with the students and community members.


Wanyonyi N HUMPHREY, Policy and Advocacy Assistant


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