Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Kenya's landmark intersex case

Source: African Activist

A landmark court case filed by Richard Muasya, an intersex person, has been decided by Kenyan High Court judges Hannah Okwengu, Ruth Sitati and George Dulu. Richard Muasya has been awarded Sh500,000 for the inhuman and degrading treatment he experienced at Kamiti Maximum Prison. His request to have a third gender introduced into Kenya’s books of statutes has been rejected.

According to the Kenyan Jurist:
The case of Richard Muasya was decided under the now repealed Constitution. The Petitioner was born with both female and male genitalia. Due to his ambiguous gender, he was unable to secure a birth certificate, identity card or any travel documents. Without these documents he lapsed into a life of crime and was convicted of the offence of robbery with violence. He sought declarations from court that his status should be recognised under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, that he suffered discrimination in fact and that his conviction was as a result of his status.
If the case were decided under Kenya's new constitution, the outcome may be very different.
 This is not the end of this issue, under the present Constitution I am sure the outcome would be different. Article 28 provides that every person has inherent right to dignity and the right to have that dignity respected and protected. Such dignity includes a form of legal recognition. In the case, the court rejected the petitioners application to be recognised.
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