Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Human Rights in Kenya
Human Rights in Practice Series
Kenya is one of more than 70+ countries in the world where homosexuality is criminalized. How do laws that discriminate against LGBTI+ communities impact social realities and human rights advocacy within Kenya and other African countries? The Human Rights Center’s three invited experts will discuss the experience of working on violence prevention and healthcare access for LGBTI+ individuals, Kenya’s constitutional framework for protecting human rights and recent high-profile legal battles, and a comparative look at Kenya with other countries in the region in terms of enforcing human rights protections for for LGBTI+ communities, including on housing, employment, right to association, and fair trial.
The Human Rights Center is pleased to welcome our three guests to Minnesota for a week of joint work. The event will be moderated by Dr. Eunice Areba and will be held virtually in accordance with University guidance. This conversation is part of the Human Rights Center’s ongoing Human Rights in Practice series and hosted in partnership with UMN Extension Global Initiatives, the Advocates for Human Rights, and the UMN Human Rights Program.
Dr. Wycliffe Nyachoti Otiso is Chair of Public Law and Lecturer at Kisii University School of Law. Dr. Otiso teaches constitutional, administrative and human rights law. Additional teaching interests include legal systems, disability law, law reform and social justice, legal research, and criminal law. His published works include participatory governance, security sector reform, community policing, and electoral violence. His presentations include human rights principles, minority rights, participation, accountability, representation, ethics and legal education. He serves as pro-bono legal advisor to The Eagles for Life, a non-governmental organization advocating for human rights, access to health and legal services, and economic empowerment of vulnerable persons.
Enosh Abuya is Executive Director of The Eagles for Life and a trainer for the National AIDS and STI Control Programme’s Violence against Key Populations. Mr. Abuya is a dynamic leader and queer activist with 9 years program experience in LGBTI and sex worker issues in Kenya and Africa. He represents Western Kenya and Rift Valley as a member of the National Litigation and Advocacy Committee. His advocacy includes violence prevention; HIV/AIDS; Sexual, Reproductive and Health Rights; and policy formulation. In addition, Enosh works on sexual minority and sex workers’ rights with the Kenya Key Population Consortium Steering Committee.
Eric Mawira Gitari is a S.J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School. His dissertation is entitled “Criminalization of Homosexuality in Africa and Rule of Law: Evidence of Legal and Social Change in Botswana, Kenya and Nigeria”. His research will trace the criminalization of homosexuality, recent trends in its decriminalization and the progression to formal protection and substantive equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons in the three countries. His study compares the legal, political and social challenges resulting from criminalization of same sex conduct in African legal systems and the effect of such criminalization in accessing rights.
Dr. Eunice Areba is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winona State University and her PhD from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Areba teaches introductory public health nursing courses to both undergraduate and graduate students. She conducts adolescent and young adult health research. Her research area of focus is healthy youth development. She is interested in how community and individual level factors influence the health of refugee and immigrant youth and their families.