Queer feminist human rights lawyer and LGBTIQ+ rights defender from Kenya
Photo by: Justice & Peace Netherlands
Njeri is a queer feminist human rights lawyer from Kenya. She is the founding member and director of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Using legal tools, the organization provides pro bono services and engages in strategic litigation and advocacy for people who have been violated based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Homosexuality in Kenya is criminalized for up to 14 years and currently, the government is debating imposing the death penalty. On a societal and legal level, the LGBTIQ+ community faces grave injustices.
“Queer people are not considered in the way laws are created in this country. Queer people are not considered in the way public policy is designed, in the way architecture is created and, in the way, social architecture is negotiated.”
Njeri’s struggle for LGBTIQ+ rights is a deeply personal one, where she is embedded in the community and guided by intention and joy. She sees great relevance in the support of human rights defenders in the world and their access to rest and respite. Due to safety concerns and threats in Kenya, her time with Shelter City in Maastricht provided the space to check-in with herself. Njeri was able to get in deeper touch with her intentions and embrace joyful energy in her work.
“I dream for an equal future, an equal possibility, an equal chance at fulfilment. And what makes that a possibility is engaging in this work now.”
Written by: Marie Theis, with the support of Njeri Gateru and Justice & Peace Netherlands