The current security situation in the country is, to say the least, shaky. Our national security agencies have continuously urged that utmost care be taken in the everyday assembly, use and running of public spaces and centres. In a bid to be able to ensure the safety of the LGBTI community members, we would like to announce that after a series of wide consultations, the following mechanisms are being instituted.
Following a meeting with various organizations dealing with Human Rights and security response in March 2012, as well as the National GALCK Forum held in April 2012, a LGBTI security committee was formed. It comprises representatives from various member groups of GALCK, human rights and LGBTI advocacy organizations. This team has continued to look at security concerns and are mandated to proactively mitigate and also respond to LGBTI related security emergency scenarios and crises. Recently, the security committee has addressed issues such as the planned Dance Competition that was themed “say no to homosexuality” and has been at the fore front of putting mechanisms in place ahead of an anticipated backlash on attendees that may come out of the US Embassy Annual Celebration of Pride Month.
LGBTI Safe House:
The LGBTI Safe House will continue to provide a safer space and environment for the LGBTI people in case of an emergency crisis in Kenya; temporary shelter to victims of human rights violations taking place around the country; an opportunity to offer support to persons, Kenyan or Non-Kenyan, affected by the violence, intimidation or other human rights violations based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity; provide opportunity to document and report emerging human rights violations. All Matters referred to the Safe House should involve a credible risk of violence, intimidation or any other human rights abuse based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
There has been a consultative and systematic process for the revision of the Safe House policy to address pitfalls that have been felt previously. The lessons learned and recommendations have enabled GALCK to come up with new measures that will ensure the safety of both the house guests and the safe house marshal before, during and after a security incident.
The temporarily reinstated safe house marshal is mandated to run the day to day affairs of the house including ensuring that the house is well stocked with consumables and other amenities and is clean. He will be governed completely by the revised safe house policy which also provides for him to work closely with a security committee on all admissions into the safe house on a case by case basis. Also, occupants of the newly revamped and more secure safe house shall be vetted and also governed in accordance with the new policy.
Visiting the GALCK Centre:
All LGBTIQ members are welcome to telephone for inquiry, and welcome to visit and use the resource centre. All visiting the centre, including staff and volunteers of GALCK and member groups will be subject to mandatory and thorough security screening at all times. We are urged to be cooperative and to let the security guards do their work.
Recognizing that the centre provides space for autonomous member groups and the secretariat, and to minimize incidences of loss of items, sections of the centre including member group cubicles, board room and secretariat workstations will be out of bounds unless upon invitation from a relevant and authorised official.