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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid