Kenya: Amnesty Integrational warns of dangerous anti-LGBTIQ+ radicalisation


Hundreds gathered in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday to protest against the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community. (Photo: Jamia Mosque / Twitter)

Amnesty International has expressed profound disquiet over the growing wave of radical anti-LGBTIQ+ sentiment in Kenya, both online and in the streets.

On Friday, a gathering of hundreds convened outside the Supreme Court in Nairobi to protest against efforts aimed at upholding the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community in Kenya.

The demonstrators voiced their opposition to the recent landmark court ruling, which ordered the government to register the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission as an NGO.

The decision also confirmed that the organisation could be registered with the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ in its name.

Religious groups fuel dangerous anti-LGBTIQ+ hysteria

Prominently led by Muslim leaders, the protesters displayed placards branding the struggle for LGBTIQ+ equality as satanic and called for the resignation of the Supreme Court judges who issued the ruling.

The official Twitter account of Nairobi’s Jamia Mosque shared images of the demonstration, accompanied by comments such as “we won’t tolerate Western ideologies” and “we say no to LGBTQ agenda!”

Similar protests took place last month in other regions, including Mombasa and Eldoret. During these demonstrations, speakers invoked both the Bible and the Quran to condemn LGBTIQ+ individuals.

In a statement, Amnesty International Kenya said it was deeply concerned about the recent surge in anti-LGBTIQ+ expressions. “This radicalisation is being actively stimulated and has the potential to endanger the lives of members of this diverse community,” asserted the group.

While acknowledging the fundamental right of individuals to engage in peaceful protests and express their opinions, Amnesty also recognised that the anti-LGBTIQ+ rhetoric poses a significant threat to the safety and well-being of Kenyan communities.

LGBTIQ+ communities must be protected

“It is our earnest appeal to political and religious leaders in Kenya to exercise care and caution in their public statements regarding the LGBTIQ+ communities,” said Irungu Houghton, Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director.

“Instead of promoting hostility, discrimination and violence against other Kenyans, we urge them to engage in respectful dialogue with community representatives. Promoting mutual understanding and respect will contribute positively to our society’s progress and unity,” Houghton added.

The organisation called on the police to ensure the safety of LGBTIQ+ groups and individuals and urged the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to document and recommend prosecution for any instances of harassment or violence targeting the LGBTIQ+ community.

Homosexuality remains criminalised in Kenya under colonial-era laws that refer to “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and “gross indecency,” carrying potential penalties of up to 14 years in prison.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend