Legal Aid Centre

In March 2013, we officially began our work and opened the doors to Kenya’s first public legal aid clinic for sexual and gender minorities. It was the first of its kind in Kenya, following a study that highlighted the punitive criminal laws against consensual same-sex/gender intimacy. Since then, the Commission has sought to provide a coordinated national legal response mechanism for Kenya’s LGBTQ+ community, across every city, town, rural area, and county.
Specific activities carried out under the Legal Aid Centre include:

Legal Aid

The Centre responds to and seeks redress to violations against all persons on ground of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity whether real or imputed. Our clinic currently serves 500-700 clients a year. We pride ourselves in having created a national legal aid response mechanism, and continue to receive cases in the hundreds annually.

Since its inception, the legal aid clinic has received and responded to approximately 3700+ cases of human rights violations fuelled by one’s real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics. The nature of the cases vary from blackmail and extortion, eviction, unlawful dismissal from employment, physical assault, corrective rape, arbitrary arrests, discrimination and stigma omong other cases elucidated in our annual legal aid reports.

At the legal aid centre, we continue to provide support to LGBTIQ individuals who are victims of discrimination or crimes based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The Legal aid centre equally offers direct representation, legal opinions/advice, accompanying clients to police stations, assisting in drafting and executing legal instruments, rapid response, psycho-social support, alternative dispute resolution among other services upon our constituents’ requests within the scope of our mandate.

The Commission is recognized nationwide as the go-to organisation for legal assistance for LGBTQIA+ in contact or conflict with the law. With the aid of partner organisations, CSOs and NHRIs across the country the legal aid centre has been able to offer the various services and requests received as well as legal redress to our constituents. Further when the pandemic hit in 2020, the legal aid centre revolutionised to operate virtually and include a psychology department as part of the services offered at the centre.

The legal aid centre equally takes pride in empowering our constituents on basic legal knowledge, safety and security and the importance of reporting cases of violence to the authorities to get justice. This has been achieved through a series of civic education forums conducted with our constituents across the country, sharing of IEC materials and videos on various matters on social media and our newsletter.

Community Outreach

Beginning in late 2017, our Legal Aid Clinic has been taking its services to communities that may have less accessibility to our services. This outreach initiative has increased reporting of justice challenges and data collection on violations facing the LGBTIQ community. The Clinic being purely based in Nairobi for walk-in clients and virtually via email, social media and telephone calls through our toll-free lines.

We are cognizant of the fact that not all our constituents are able to access our services through digital channels. This has since enabled us to conduct community outreaches in various parts of the country to ensure that we uphold our mandate of ensuring access to justice to all LGBTQIA+ Kenyans, refugees and asylum seekers in contact or conflict with the law. We have conducted these outreaches in Kisumu, Nakuru, Kilifi, and Kisii among other counties in Kenya.

NGLHRC's legal aid centre has been providing daily free legal aid to LGBTIQ persons in Kenya since 2013. We have responded to over 3,700 cases since we began the program, establishing ourselves as the go-to organisation for LGBTIQ legal aid.

Through our legal aid program, we engage in:

  • Direct Legal Representation: We offer support to LGBTIQ individuals across Kenya who are victims of discrimination or crimes because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Evidence collection: We record violations and show the harm caused by existing criminal sanctions
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: We undertake steps towards remedying recorded violations, including consultation, mediation, assistance with administrative procedures, referral to practising advocates to file suits, and direct legal representation in court
  • Data Collection and Documentation: We collect data on the nature and trends of violations against LGBTIQ+ people across the country
  • Strategic Litigation: We use the evidence collected in court to show that current laws do not serve the aims of criminal justice—and in fact, help justify discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity—in direct conflict with Kenya’s constitution, which expressly provides for equality and freedom of association and expression
  • Urgent Response: We verify incidences of violence and tale the data or make referrals
  • Referrals: We have a wide referral network and refer cases depending on capacities, abilities, and resources available