Human Rights Council Adopts Outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Kenya and Armenia

Published: September 22, 2010

MUTULA KILONZO, Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs of Kenya, said Kenya attached great importance to the work of the Human Rights Council and in particular the Universal Periodic Review, and to this end Kenya reiterated its commitment to its obligations to promote universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and other human rights instruments. On 27 August 2010, Kenya’s new constitution was promulgated before hundreds of thousands of ecstatic Kenyans. The event was a significant moment in the country’s history, representing a new beginning in the process of political transformation, as the new constitution not only addressed governance challenges but renewed the faith of Kenyans in the rule of law and established value-driven national institutions. During the review in May, 150 recommendations were made by delegations; 128 were accepted, a decision was postponed on 15, and only 7 did not enjoy the support of Kenya. Since then, there had been broad consultations at the national level involving all relevant stakeholders.

Kenya was taking measures to implement the recommendations accepted in May, many of which touched on holding a peaceful referendum on the new constitution, providing equality and outlawing discrimination especially on the grounds of sex, and implementation of international and regional human rights instruments through domestic legislation to ensure better protection for children, marginalised communities, persons with disabilities and freedom of information. The referendum was held in an orderly and peaceful manner on 4 August 2010, and the new constitution guaranteed most of the rights that were the subject of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations and which were also provided for under the international and regional human rights instruments that Kenya was a State Party to. The Government was also implementing far-reaching measures aimed at reforming the Judiciary and the Police. Regarding the seven recommendations that did not enjoy the support of the delegation in May, and, following a consultative process involving all stakeholders, Kenya had reconsidered its position. Out of the seven recommendations, only the one on decriminalising same-sex unions had been rejected wholly without any variations. Kenya remained committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and firmly supported the Universal Periodic Review.

JUDITH NGUNJIRI, of Action Canada for Population and Development, expressed its disappointment that the Kenyan Government had rejected recommendations to take measures to provide for the protection and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. The criminalization of consensual same-sex relations in Sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code fuelled stigma, discrimination and violence against sexual minorities. Action Canada for Population and Development reminded the Kenyan Government that human rights were universal, inalienable and inherent and that these principles applied to all citizens including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Kenyans.

BJORN VAN ROOSENDAHL, of European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, in a joint statement with Federatie Van Netherlandse Verenigingen Tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit – Coc Nederland, said that a variety of stakeholders had submitted reports recommending that Armenia address discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, implement sensitivity and awareness raising programmes on these grounds and apply the Yogyakarta Principles. These recommendations were consistent with Armenia’s commitment to equality and non-discrimination expressed in the Working Group report.

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