PUBLISHED:September 27, 2017

Human Rights in Practice: Litigating LGBTIQ Rights–The Kenya Experience

Litigating LGBTIQ Rights: The Kenya ExperienceEric Gitari Lecture 10/25

Wednesday, October 25
12:30 pm | Room 4045
Duke Law School

Please click here for the event webcast.

Eric Gitari, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) in Kenya, will give a talk on "Litigating LGBTIQ Rights: The Kenya Experience."  This lecture will use a sociology of law methodology to pitch for incremental approaches in public interest litigation and civic education, in order to grow constitutional meanings and norms of justice and equality in repressive contexts. Gitari will draw from social factors (constitutional dictatorship, poverty, institutional corruption, etc) underlying the remaking of Kenya’s Constitution in 2010, from its ongoing implementation, and from his own involvement in three pending test cases concerning sexual orientation and gender identity (LGBTIQ NGO registration; ending forced anal examination of suspects of homosexual offences; decriminalization of homosexual sex). He aims to demonstrate how lawyers can be agents of public interest litigation and civic education to guide public discourse, developing legal doctrine and social meanings in relation to justice and equality, and how they can do so in a relevant and sustained manner within the shadows cast by existing repressive penal laws and cultures. The lecture will characterize triumphs and defeats in litigation as waves within the dialogic and interpretive normative framework of the law. It will address the question whether – in emerging constitutional democracies – both increased protection and increased repression based on sexual orientation and gender identity, are indicators of constitutional growth.

The talk will be moderated by Larry Helfer, Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor Law and Co-Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law. This is part of the Human Rights in Practice series, which is co-sponsored by the International Human Rights Clinic, and Center for International and Comparative Law. Additional co-sponsors include the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, FuquaPride, Human Rights Law Society, International Law Society and Outlaw. Lunch will be provided. 

For more information, or to RSVP, please contact Ali Prince.


Eric Gitari is a ​lawyer and constitutional activist from Kenya. He works at the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in Kenya and also serves as a Committee officer at the International Bar Association. He is currently litigating three constitutional cases on LGBTIQ equality in Kenya including registration of LGBTIQ NGOs, challenging anal testing to prove homosexual sex and decriminalisation of consensual adult homosexual sex. He loves farming, carpentry and poetry.