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KNHRC champions intersex Bill to protect rights

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) is working towards ensuring the establishment of a legal framework that will fill the gap in the law for the protection of the rights of the intersex persons.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the commission, Dr. Bernard Mogesa, said KNCHR is working with the Office of the Attorney General and the Kenya Law Reform Commission to achieve this.

He said that as much as the laws acknowledge the existence of this group, they are not comprehensive enough to protect their rights against discrimination and stigmatisation therefore leaving a gap.

Mogesa noted that members of the intersex community have not been recognised in many critical provisions which other Kenyans are enjoying, such as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage, registration of identification, and others.

“The intersex group is not covered by the NHIF, and they have faced discrimination in other areas as well,” he said.

“These are some of the issues that affect them, and this law will ensure that, in terms of affirmative action, there is a framework that will protect them and allow them to enjoy their rights just like any other Kenyan,” he stated.

The draft bill will ensure inclusivity for intersex people in the areas of employment, health services, the justice system, and education, among others.

He said that the 2023 intersex bill is critical to the protection and promotion of the rights of intersex persons in Kenya, adding that for 10 years, KNCHR has been working towards devising the framework for that sole purpose.

The bill is set to bring forth an act of parliament that will provide for the recognition, protection, and safeguarding of intersex persons’ human rights and provide for the equalisation of opportunities, affirmative action, and non-discrimination of this group.

In the bill, an intersex is a child or adult with a congenital condition in which the biological sex characteristics cannot be exclusively categorised in the common binary of female or male chromosomal patterns, which could be apparent prior to birth, in childhood, puberty, or adulthood.

The CEO was speaking in Homa Bay Town during a public participation forum on the proposed intersex bill with various stakeholders.

He noted that it is because of a lack of awareness among the duty bearers that the commission is engaging stakeholders to meet its objective.

The 2019 census captured a total of 1524 members of the intersex population nationally, with 23 of them recorded from Homa Bay County.

“There are others who were not captured in the census due to reasons like fear and stigma. Also, lack of public awareness was another factor that prevented them from coming forward,” said the CEO.

“We want to ensure that this group is fully catered for without any discrimination within the framework of the law that we are proposing,” he noted.

By Sitna Omar

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