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 Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid