NAIROBI KENYA: Monday, July 9th, 2018: The Taskforce on Policy, Legal, Institutional and Administrative Reforms Regarding Intersex Persons in Kenya today launches the Nationwide Data Collection towards realization of the intended taskforce objectives.
The Plight of Intersex Persons
An ‘Intersex Person’ is one whose sex characteristics are not exclusively defined as male or female. There are as many as 46 variations of physiological characteristics (body parts and functions) that fall within the broad definition of intersex. These variations may be informed by bodily structure, hormones, reproductive organs or genetic make-up among other considerations.
Often intersex persons face numerous challenges including: legal limitations, difficulties in registration, stigmatization and wrong gender reassignment. Sometimes, newborns are assigned a sex by medical personnel by the consent of their parents/ guardians to either male or female for the purpose of socialization.
It is estimated that between 1.7 and 3.0 percent of the global population is intersex. Consequently, this group could be approximated to be at a population of 1.4 million persons in Kenya. However, the exact number cannot be established owing to inadequate research. Further, guidelines and solutions to the existing challenges have not been adequately documented nor implemented.
The Taskforce on Policy, Legal, Institutional and Administrative Reforms Regarding Intersex Persons in Kenya, was constituted by the Hon. Attorney General pursuant to Gazette notice no. 4904 in May 2017. The membership was drawn from various institutions including Kenya Law Reform Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Office of the Attorney General& Department of Justice, Directorate of Immigration & Registration of Persons, National Gender and Equality Commission, the Cradle in addition to co-opted members like the Intersex Persons Society of Kenya.
Mandate of the Taskforce
The Task Force has the following mandate to:
- Compile comprehensive data regarding the number, distribution and challenges of Intersex persons;
- Undertake comprehensive literature review based on a comparative approach to care, treatment and protection of Intersex persons;
- Examine the existing policy, institutional, legislative, medical and administrative structures and systems governing Intersex persons;
- Recommend comprehensive reforms to safeguard the interests of Intersex persons;
- Develop a prioritized implementation matrix clearly stating the immediate, medium and long term reforms governing Intersex persons; and
- Undertake any other activities required for the effective discharge of its mandate.
The Task Force has been consulting broadly with all stakeholders to ensure the rights of intersex persons are protected and promoted. To date, the Task Force has received presentations from medical professionals, judicial officers, media practitioners, parents of Intersex children and other stakeholders. It has also undertaken, comparative research on legislative, policy, institutional and administrative structures and systems governing the interests of intersex persons in Kenya, and practices by other countries regionally and globally.
The Task Force aims to collect comprehensive data regarding the number, distribution and challenges of intersex persons in Kenya. This will be followed by broad public consultations in counties to solicit input from all relevant stakeholders in the spirit of public participation.
To ensure comprehensiveness and inclusivity in this process, the Task Force urges and invites all stakeholders; the intersex persons, their families, the various care givers, medics, academia, government actors and members of the public to share their views and participate in the data collection process.
Upon completion of this phase, the data will be analysed and the Task Force will then compile a final report with comprehensive recommendations on immediate, medium and long-term reforms governing intersex persons in Kenya. The draft report will thereafter be subjected to further public consultation and stakeholder validation before finalization and official submission to the Attorney General by end of October 2018.
The taskforce with the additional support of a lead consultant, 3 legal researchers and 20 data collectors and key development partners (GoK, OSIEA & IDLO) are working closely in this process to ensure collection of data through various methods: face to face interviews, focussed group discussions, public questionnaires (manual and online).
Mr. Mbage Ng’ang’a
Chairperson of the Taskforce on Policy, Legal, Institutional and Administrative Reforms Regarding Intersex Persons in Kenya
If interested to learn more about the intersex persons, the work of the taskforce or to participate by giving information or submitting memoranda, please reach us through;
Facebook: Intersex Taskforce Kenya
Mobile: 0726 610 159/ 0733 780 000
Visit the following websites: www.knchr.org or www.klrc.go.ke