• Press Release

Ruling upholding anal tests on gay men in Kenya unacceptable

June 16, 2016

Today’s ruling by the High Court in Mombasa upholding the legality of anal tests on men suspected of engaging in sex with other men is not only unacceptable, but also shocking in its disregard for international human rights obligations, said Amnesty International.

The judgment was made in response to a petition brought by two men which sought to declare unconstitutional the tests that they were forced to undergo in February 2015. In his ruling, Judge Mathew Emukule held that there was sufficient grounds in Kenyan law for intrusion into the human anatomy to gather medical evidence of a crime, including sodomy. He also claimed the petitioners had consented to the tests.

“Forcible anal examinations of men suspected of same-sex relationships is abhorrent, and violates the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law. They should not be allowed to continue,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“It is also absurd as the government has no business proving or disproving consensual homosexual activity. It’s a violation of the right to privacy.”

Forced anal exams violate multiple treaties that Kenya has ratified, including the Convention against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Convention on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

In their constitutional petition, the two men who brought the case said doctors at the Coast General Hospital, the main government hospital in Mombasa, had conspired with law enforcement agents to subject them to forced anal examinations in violations of their rights.