News / Africa

Rights Groups Demand Protection of Gays in Kenya

Rights Groups Demand Protection of Gays in Kenya
Rights Groups Demand Protection of Gays in Kenya

A human rights watchdog says it is alarmed over reports of increasing vigilante violence in Kenya against people accused of homosexual conduct and groups offering HIV/AIDS services. 

New York-based Human Rights Watch has condemned anti-gay violence that erupted last Friday in a coastal town northeast of the port city of Mombasa.  

According to Human Rights Watch sources in Mtwapa town, an armed mob of 200 to 300 people raided a government health center that provides HIV/AIDS services to the community in a bid to "flush out gays."  The mob severely beat a man who tried to enter the health center and tried to set him on fire before the police arrived and took the half-conscious man into custody.  

The following day, another mob attacked a volunteer at the health center in Mtwapa before he, too, was taken into police custody.  The violence spread to Mombasa, where a crowd beat a suspected homosexual in the streets.  A second man accused of being a homosexual was attacked in Mombasa on Tuesday.

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and is punishable by as long as 14 years in jail.  Human Rights Watch says while the accused men taken into custody were never charged and later released, the police have not tried to arrest any of the mob leaders nor halt the attacks.
 
A prominent Kenyan gay activist Pouline Kimani says attacks on the government health center and suspected homosexuals began after a rumor began circulating in late January.  The rumor involved a gay wedding that was allegedly going to take place in Mtwapa town on February 12.   

Kimani says local Christian and Muslim leaders urged their congregations to expose homosexuals and to turn them in to the police.  The religious leaders also criticized the Kenyan government for providing HIV/AIDS service to gays, describing them as "criminals."

"I completely understand that all of us have very different ways of thinking,' said Kimani. "But religious leaders start to make very hateful speeches and incite violence on a community and not one single authority has spoken against it, even though incitement of hatred is criminal in our laws."

In neighboring Uganda, a controversial anti-homosexuality bill, now before the Ugandan parliament, also has alleged links to religious leaders.  

It has been widely reported that the bill, which contains a clause that allows capital punishment for some gay people, was inspired by American evangelical preachers involved in a movement to stop homosexuality through prayer and faith in Christianity.

Homosexuality is already against the law in Uganda and punishable by lengthy jail terms.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called the proposed legislation in Uganda "odious."  

Human rights activists say violence and discrimination are rising against gays because authorities in the region are condoning public hostility.  Rights groups say they also worry that attacks on clinics providing HIV/AIDS services could affect not only gay men, but millions of heterosexual people suffering from the disease.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid