Gay Kenya News & Reports 2010

| Thursday, February 11th, 2010 | Comments Off

Also see:
Behind the Mask LGBT African website


0 Kenya: New strategy targets most at-risk populations 1/10

1 Living In Shadows – Being Gay In Kenya 2/10

2 Five men arrested in Kenya over gay wedding plans 2/10

3 Kenyan Gays Appeal To The Government For Protection 2/10

4 BBC coverage of Mombasa ‘riot’ against gays is inaccurate and misleading 2/10

5 Kenya: Halt Anti-Gay Campaign 2/10

6 Kenyan police release gay men 2/10

6a The Anti-Gay Violence in Mtwapa and Mombasa, Kenya 2/10

7 Kenya: Mtwapa clerics want to ‘eradicate gays 2/10

7a 19th February Hate Motivated Violence Seminar 2/10

7b Transactional intercourse between MSM sex workers, women in Kenya 3/10

7c New Threats, in Mombasa, Kenya 3/10

7d Other Sheep Kenya conducts three coastal PFLAG seminars 3/10

8 Continuing threats to gays on Kenya’s coast 3/10

8a You can’t wish away African gays 3/10

9 IGLHRC Slams Kenyan Anti-gay Website 4/10

10 Bisexual male sex workers run big risks 4/10

11 Kenya gay demand recognition 5/10

12 Kenya: New Drive to Fight Aids Among Gays 5/10

13 Kenyan Gays Learn Their Rights As New Law Is Proposed 7/10

14 Murugi urges Kenyans to accept gays 10/10

15 Gay rights in Africa: now for the good news 10/10

16 Religious outrage over minister’s support of gay rights 10/10

17 Kenya’s Constitution Minister Wants Gays Rights Respected 10/10

17a Kenyan Prisons Curb Gay Sex With Cameras 11/10

18 Kenya PM orders gays’ arrest 11/10

19 Kenyan prime minister denies saying gays should be arrested 12/10



13 January 2010 – IRIN PlusNews

0
Kenya: New strategy targets most at-risk populations

Nairobi,(PlusNews) – Kenya has launched an ambitious strategy to fight HIV/AIDS that aims to reduce new infections by at least 50 percent over the next four years and focus more on most at-risk populations (MARPs). The third Kenya National AIDS Strategic Plan, which runs from 2009/2010 till 2012/2013 and was launched in the capital, Nairobi, on 12 January, also aims to reduce AIDS-related mortality by 25 percent.

"We cannot achieve our target unless we close new taps of HIV infections – this involves putting most at-risk populations at the centre of our HIV programmes and prevention strategies," said Alloys Orago, director of the National AIDS Control Council.

High risk
In Kenya, female and male sex workers, injecting/intravenous drug users, and men who have sex with men (MSM) are considered primary MARPs. A 2008 Modes of Transmission study in Kenya revealed that commercial sex workers and their clients accounted for 14 percent of new HIV infections, while MSM and prison populations together account for 15 percent of new infections. The study also found that injecting drug users were responsible for 3.8 percent of new infections.
Speaking at the launch, UNAIDS executive director Michél Sidibé highlighted the paradox of the intention to increase HIV programming among MARPS while at the same time criminalizing the activities that put them at an elevated risk of contracting and transmitting HIV.

Criminalization a block
"Criminalization puts most at-risk populations like commercial sex workers, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men in the shadows," he said. "It is difficult to reach groups whose actions are deemed to be at odds with the law."
Sex work, homosexual acts and the use of illicit drugs are all outlawed in Kenya and are punishable by long terms in prison.

"A series of difficult legal issues arises from attempts to programme more directly for the MARPs, and to take these programmes to scale," the plan states. "Programmes have been working with all these groups for many years, but under constraints." The Modes of Transmission study recommended that in the "immediate and short term, ways be examined that will improve and hasten provision of services; in the long term, discuss changing policies and laws that criminalize and discriminate against these groups".

Domestic funding a priority
While the plan has been welcomed by many stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS field, there is some concern about the fact that Kenya remains almost completely dependent on external funding for its AIDS programmes. Kenya requires at least US$3.5 billion to successfully implement the new plan.

"We call on the government to put in place measures that will ensure that funding for HIV treatment is generated locally, because this is the only sustainable way to ensure that people who need treatment get it," said Nelson Otuoma, a representative of The National Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya. "We cannot rely on donors for ever. What happens when donors pull out? We propose special levies to go towards generating money for treatment."

Kenya’s HIV national prevalence stands at 7.1 percent; an estimated 166,000 Kenyans become infected with HIV every year, 34,000 of whom are infants.



February 2, 2010 - Behind The Mask

1
Living In Shadows – Being Gay In Kenya

by Lesego Tlhwale (BTM Intern)
Kenya – A documentary reflecting the issues of ‘Being gay in Kenya’ is in the pipeline and with it, producers say they want to break the myth that gays and lesbians do not exist in the country, as believed by some members of society. Comprising of first hand experiences of gay Kenyans, the documentary reveals issues of homophobia, stereotyping and stigma in a society in which the majority feel that homosexuality is unAfrican and unbiblical. In the documentary, some participants reveal how they have had to stay in the closet for fear of being identified as gay, while others are said to live double lives in order to fit into society.

Others talk of the many gatherings often held, populated by respectable members of society, such as teachers, lawyers and even politicians. “Most people I interviewed do not blame anybody about their sexuality, they say it has been a feeling from childhood despite the fact that most people say that this is a behavior adopted either from high school or maybe one was sexually molested by an uncle or a cousin”, Javine Ochieng of Gay Kenya, an LGBTI human rights organisation in Kenya said.

Since safety is a big concern, participants’ names and identities are carefully protected to avoid recognition, which could lead to further stigma, discrimination and even violence.

“It was a problem even getting people to volunteer and speak out about their lives due to the fear of facing homophobia in the Kenyan society at large. And their concerns were the thought that the documentary could be taken to the press.” Ochieng says the documentary will be used to sensitise society and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trangender and intersex (LGBTI) community during trainings, often held by Gay Kenya. “We want to ensure that Kenyans understand that gay people exist in our country and that they understand issues of homosexuality, having seen and understood how gays feel about themselves and their sexuality”, Ochieng said.

He added, “In the past when I was talking to people about being gay, lesbian, transgender or intersex they failed to understand and accept the fact that there are LGBTI people in Kenya.” During production some findings from the Kenyan society were surprising. “Even though the Kenyan society is homophobic there are a number of people who understand and support that gays, lesbians and intersex people should be left to lead their lives in peace”, Ochieng revealed.

Due to a limited budget, participants only came from urban areas, since members of GayKenya had to dig dip into their pockets to produce the documentary. However Ochieng acknowledges issues faced by gay and intersex people in rural areas and says they too should participate in future.

The documentary covers themes of family support for gay people, coping with the sexuality of a gay sibling and views of the Kenyan Psychiatry about homosexuality in Kenya. It is not available for the public, for safety reasons, however a protected copy for the public is available at Gay Kenya offices on request.

More Information



February 12, 2010 – PinkNews

2
Five men arrested in Kenya over gay wedding plans

by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Five men suspected of being gay have been arrested in Kenya after local people protested over a planned gay wedding. Hundreds of people in the coastal town of Mtwapa protested after details of the secret ceremony became known. The five men, aged between 20 and 23, were said to be guests at today’s ceremony and were taken in custody after residents alerted police.
The men who were to marry reportedly escaped the town and police had to rescue a number of men accused of being gay from angry crowds.

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Local district official George Matundura told AFP that the five men will "undergo a medical examination before we charge them with homosexuality." He said police would "move swiftly" to close down gay and lesbian bars and thanked the public for their cooperation. Local Christian and Muslim clerics announced plans of the wedding three weeks ago and warned they would not allow homosexuality in the area.



13 February 2010 – Gay Kenya

3
Kenyan Gays Appeal To The Government For Protection

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…and are entitled to all the rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, and religion, political or other opinion. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person….No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment… All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination. UDHR Arts. 1 – 7.”

These are fundamental human rights and freedoms contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Kenya is a signatory. The members of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya are appalled at the behaviour of the people of Mtwapa, Kilifi, but more especially by that of the provincial administration and the police. The five arrested people committed no crime, and we demand their immediate release.

We are also concerned that the media in Kenya continues to play a big role in inciting the public to take matters in their own hands. We understand the media especially in Mombasa called upon residents to ‘stand against the pollution of culture’. In the supposed gay wedding publicised in the media, there are glaring inconsistencies that the media should have investigated before broadcasting the news.

We would also like to point out the following basic truths relating to this case (Gay Marriage):
1. It is not a crime in Kenya to be homosexual. While engaging in sex “against the order of nature” is a crime, being gay or living a gay lifestyle is not. People cannot be arrested on suspicion of being homosexual. How pray we ask, do homosexuals look like? What are the distinctive characteristics of homosexuals, and why would they be criminalized on the basis of these characteristics?

2. Same-sex marriages in Kenya are a non-entity; they therefore cannot be a crime. If two friends of the same sex wish to commit in friendship to one another, such commitment is not a marriage, and even if they regarded it as such, the Government has no obligation to regard it as a marriage since marriage is between members of the opposite sex.

3. The Action by the Kilifi District Commissioner and the heavy contingent of the police makes one wonder about the government priorities. This is a district drowning in drugs and the large number of drug addicted youths accompanying the police is proof enough. Yet instead of arresting the drug lords and drug pushers the police chose to arrest five hapless youths engaged in HIV Vaccine research project.

4. In a country with less than 5000 doctors, is taking suspected homosexuals for medical examinations to prove homosexuality the best way to utilise this limited human capital? A visitor to any of our district hospitals would be most saddened by the way we allocate, priority work for our doctors.

5. Lastly, National HIV programming has recognized stigma and discrimination as important drivers of the HIV pandemic both within the sexual minorities and the general population. Men who Have Sex with Men – MSM contribute 15.2% of all new infections in Kenya. Of these, 60% are engaged in heterosexual relationships. When will the Kenyan people realize that enforced heterosexuality leads to further HIV vulnerability of the entire society and in no way cures people of their homosexuality?

The Gay and Lesbian Coalition members, including the membership from Mombasa call on the government to give protection to all Kenyans including the sexual minorities, and to prevent State agents and 3rd parties from meting violence on minority populations. We therefore call on the Government to move with speed to decriminalize homosexuality so that we can begin to educate the society on the evils of discrimination against sexual minorities.

We urge the media to desist from making inflammatory statements that may put the lives of gay people at risk. We also call upon the religious leaders in Kenya to appreciate that compulsory heterosexuality is not the way to enforce their religion. GALCK members are willing to enter into dialogue with them, and if they truly have a cure for homosexuality, then we are most happy to take it, But Not Under Conditions Of Duress.

Statement Signed for the GALCK members by
David Kuria
General Manager – GALCK.



February 14, 2010 – LGBT Asylum News

4
BBC coverage of Mombasa ‘riot’ against gays is inaccurate and misleading

The Editor of LGBT Asylum News, Paul Canning, today complained to the BBC over its coverage of a so-called ‘gay wedding’ in Mombasa, Kenya and attempted massacre of local gay men. The BBC carried the headline ‘Police arrest five ‘gay’ Kenyans’ [screenshot link below] on its website, a link which led to a story headlined ‘Kenya chiefs block Mombasa ‘gay wedding”. In December the BBC’s coverage of gay issues in Africa faced widespread condemnation when a discussion board on it’s website aimed at Africans asked ‘Should Homosexuals Face Execution?’

Canning said that a number of Kenyan gay sources have confirmed there was no wedding including the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, which blamed the riot on media incitement. The first BBC report had carried a brief reference to statements by Kenyan gay community condemning arrests of gays by local police but not their refutation of the wedding claim.

Canning has tracked the timeline of the events. A riot started on Friday following a report in Kenya’s newspaper The Daily Nation, and subsequent radio reports, of a supposed ‘gay wedding’ at Mtwapa, a Indian Ocean beach resort, north-east of Kenya’s second city.

Kenyan gay activists say the newspaper report was based on "rumors started in a hair salon" following a practical joke on a local radio station and that there never was a planned ‘wedding’. Gay Uganda reports receiving email saying that "one of our Guys made a joke last week that he was getting married to his lover, this issue has been picked by Radio Rahma and it’s inciting Muslims against Gay men".

Activists claim that presenters on the radio stations Kaya and Baraka FM had been inciting people, with Radio Rahama asking Muslims to "find these men".

Canning said:
"It is shocking that the BBC is carrying the incitement to murder of gay men by the local media and clerics, repeating as fact their claims. The local TV footage shows terrified gays holding a meeting at a clinic as part of a HIV vaccine research project surrounded by a mob being hauled out by police – but the BBC refers to ‘Crowds gathered’ and ‘protests’."

"This reporting plays down what it is a clear attempt to massacre local gay men. Why has the BBC not spoken to the organised gay community? Would the BBC have carried the fantastical claims made by Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines prior to the Rwandan genocide as fact? African media regularly carries fantastical claims about gays. The BBC should be far more careful than it is being in repeating those claims as fact."

BBC: Kenyan police raid ‘gay wedding’ and arrest five men
BBC: Kenya chiefs block Mombasa ‘gay wedding’
Screenshot of BBC website showing the headline
Statement by the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya

The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya have said that they would complain to the Media Council of Kenya. Canning said he had written to encourage them and GAAI Africa to also complain to the BBC.

GAAI Africa can be contacted

Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya email
Telephone: +254-20-242-6060
Mobile Phone Number: +254 714 492 228 or +254 736 345 328
Website



February 17, 2010 – Human Rights Watch

5
Kenya: Halt Anti-Gay Campaign

Protect Health Workers, Activists; Condemn Mob Violence, Incitements to Hate

(New York) – Kenya’s government should act quickly to protect people accused of homosexual conduct and groups offering HIV/AIDS services from vigilante attacks, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Kenyan authorities. The vigilante violence has hit Mtwapa, a coastal town northeast of Mombasa, in recent days and appears to be spreading to Mombasa and elsewhere. Human Rights Watch called on Kenya’s government to speak out against the voices that incite hatred and foment the attacks.

"The government is sitting silent while mobs try to kill human rights defenders and assault people they suspect are gay," said Dipika Nath, researcher in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch. "Inaction is complicity, and silence can be lethal."

In late January, 2010, unsubstantiated rumors about a "gay wedding" scheduled for February 12 started circulating in Mtwapa, in Kilifi District. Local and national radio stations picked up the unconfirmed story. On February 7, several imams and muftis (Islamic scholars) told their congregations during Friday prayers to be vigilant and to "expose" homosexuals in Mtwapa.

On February 11, Sheikh Ali Hussein of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya and Bishop Lawrence Chai of the National Council of Churches of Kenya held a news conference. As reported by Daily Nation and by other witnesses who have spoken to Human Rights Watch, the two religious leaders demanded an investigation of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), a government health center that provides HIV/AIDS services to the community. They criticized the government for "providing counselling services to these criminals" and demanded that the KEMRI office in Mtwapa be shut down, the reports said.

Local activists told Human Rights Watch that, in a statement after the meeting, the religious leaders promised to "flush out gays." The Daily Nation reported that Chai is the leader of a network called "Operation Gays Out," whose actual numbers and aims are not known. On February 12, an armed mob of 200 to 300 people surrounded the KEMRI health center. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that a man called "Faridi," an organizer of the mob, said a KEMRI staff member was homosexual because he wore a T-shirt promoting safer sex. In response, police who were at the scene took him and another KEMRI staffer into custody.

Earlier the same day, Faridi, with police, forcibly entered another private individual’s home, claiming that the two people in the house were homosexual. Police took the two into custody, too. Local activists have informed Human Rights Watch that none of the men were charged and they have all since been released, and that the police were attempting to protect them from violence by taking them into custody.

Read Article HERE



February 18, 2010 – PinkNews

6
Kenyan police release gay men

by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Six men arrested in Kenya by police who suspected them of being gay have been released. The men, aged between 20 and 35, were taken into custody last Friday after rumours they were planning a gay wedding in the coastal town of Mtwapa. Hundreds of local people protested over the rumours and police had to rescue a number of men accused of being gay from angry crowds.

Police spokesman Martha Mutegi told the BBC that there was no evidence to prosecute the men. He added that they had been told to leave the area for their own safety. Reports initially said the men were planning to attend a gay wedding ceremony but gay activists in Kenya say this was a rumour spread by local religious leaders.

They claim that local radio stations and religious leaders had been inciting people to protest and find the men. An HIV centre was also surrounded by protesters and there were reports that some men suspected of being gay were beaten. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and consenting sex between two men in punishable by up to 14 years in prison.



February 18, 2010 – Gay Uganda

6a
The Anti-Gay Violence in Mtwapa and Mombasa, Kenya

This report needs no embellishment. It needs no comment. It needs no writing up. Read of the events that happened in Mtwapa, and Mombasa, Kenya over the last week. And, remember that more demonstrations are planned after the Friday Prayers tomorrow (19 Feb, 2010). Of course the police roll will be there to do what they have already done. Ostensibly protecting gay people. Actually…

Here is the excerpt from the article, of a Church and Mosque led bout of ‘Ethnic Cleansing:
Kenya’s government should act quickly to protect people accused of homosexual conduct and groups offering HIV/AIDS services from vigilante attacks, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Kenyan authorities. The vigilante violence has hit Mtwapa, a coastal town northeast of Mombasa, in recent days and appears to be spreading to Mombasa and elsewhere. Human Rights Watch called on Kenya’s government to speak out against the voices that incite hatred and foment the attacks.

"The government is sitting silent while mobs try to kill human rights defenders and assault people they suspect are gay," said Dipika Nath, researcher in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) rights program at Human Rights Watch. "Inaction is complicity, and silence can be lethal." In late January, 2010, unsubstantiated rumors about a "gay wedding" scheduled for February 12 started circulating in Mtwapa, in Kilifi District. Local and national radio stations picked up the unconfirmed story. On February 7, several imams and muftis (Islamic scholars) told their congregations during Friday prayers to be vigilant and to "expose" homosexuals in Mtwapa.

On February 11, Sheikh Ali Hussein of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya and Bishop Lawrence Chai of the National Council of Churches of Kenya held a news conference. As reported by Daily Nation and by other witnesses who have spoken to Human Rights Watch, the two religious leaders demanded an investigation of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), a government health center that provides HIV/AIDS services to the community. They criticized the government for "providing counselling services to these criminals" and demanded that the KEMRI office in Mtwapa be shut down, the reports said.

Local activists told Human Rights Watch that, in a statement after the meeting, the religious leaders promised to "flush out gays." The Daily Nation reported that Chai is the leader of a network called "Operation Gays Out," whose actual numbers and aims are not known.

On February 12, an armed mob of 200 to 300 people surrounded the KEMRI health center. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that a man called "Faridi," an organizer of the mob, said a KEMRI staff member was homosexual because he wore a T-shirt promoting safer sex. In response, police who were at the scene took him and another KEMRI staffer into custody.

Earlier the same day, Faridi, with police, forcibly entered another private individual’s home, claiming that the two people in the house were homosexual. Police took the two into custody, too. Local activists have informed Human Rights Watch that none of the men were charged and they have all since been released, and that the police were attempting to protect them from violence by taking them into custody.

The mob beat senseless another man who was approaching the health center and was about to set him on fire when the police arrived and took him into custody as well.

A large crowd gathered outside the police station where the five were being held. A religious leader addressed the mob, saying all homosexuals should be driven out of Mtwapa, and another speaker encouraged the mob to not bother bringing homosexuals to the police but rather to take the law into its own hands, witnesses said. Other speakers said that homosexuals had appeared in Mtwapa when KEMRI opened its offices there. Smaller groups reportedly went to the homes of other people suspected of being gay and threatened them.

Local sources told Human Rights Watch that the mob attacks appeared planned rather than spontaneous. Â According to reports received by Human Rights Watch, none of the attackers have been arrested.

Accounts of the attacks and arrests filled the front pages of the next day’s local and national newspapers.

Read Article



21 February 2010 – LGBT Asylum News

7
Kenya: Mtwapa clerics want to ‘eradicate gays’, but human rights defenders are many

by Paul Canning
In the aftermath of the attempted anti-gay pogrom in Mtwapa, a small town near Mombasa, Kenya, the Daily Nation report that the government’s attempts to calm the situation are being rebuffed by clerics.
The government has set up a committee which aims to educate wananchi (the public) on the operations of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri centre) the focus of organised anti-gay riotin.

But Sheikh Ali Hussein, Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Kikambala coordinator, and the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK)’s Kilifi District representative, Bishop Laurence Chai, separately told the newspaper that they accepted to join the committee for the sole purpose of ‘eradicating gay activities in Mtwapa’. "We did not join to drum up support for Kemri, which is one of the factors behind this menace," said Sheikh Hussein. They threatened that some of the clinic’s researchers must be removed.

Bishop Chai said the committee was also formed to ensure that residents have access to HIV/Aids and TB treatment offered at the Kemri station. "Anything short of that is a clear indication that our concerns were ignored by the government and we shall pull out of the committee," he warned.

Media incitement
Muthoni Wanyek, Kenya correspondent for The East Africa-, and a executive member of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, speaking in a report on media coverage of homosexuality in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda for Radio France Internationale (RFI), says that the Mtwapa events were provoked by media reports that were completely unverified. The reporter who broke the story never bothered to mention ‘how could a wedding be taking place?’ It’s not possible under civil law, it’s not possible under any of the religious or customary laws. He took a joke completely out of context leading to the situation, without any concern for facts.

The media has not corrected their reporting, she says. Muthoni says gay men were not arrested (as widely reported), the police intervened "to their credit" to protect the people from a mob organised by the Muslim and Christian leadership. The state has no interest in these cases until it’s forced to appear to be doing something because of religious and popular sentiment of the kind that’s stoked, unnecessarily, by bad media coverage.

Muthoni’s comments are backed up by statements from local police to The Sta. Coast deputy provincial police boss Henry Barmao said: "We are not holding any homosexual suspects. Police did not arrest anyone. They only rescued them from angry mobs. I do not know where they are now but I am certain they are not being held at any police station." This angered Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa who said: "The police should say why they let the suspects go free. They should have taken them to court and let the courts make its decision based on the evidence produced and witness accounts."



2010 February 22 – Fighting Violence With Love

7a
19th February Hate Motivated Violence Seminar

by ktapuwa21
Nairobi – On the 19th February,the exchange crew had a Hate Motivated Violence Seminar which had the Norwegian Ambassador to Kenya,Elisabeth Jacobsen,as the Guest of Honor.
The seminar was held prior to the global World Day of Justice that was marked on the 20th February.

In her speech to about 40 LGBTI members of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya,she made it clear that the Norwegian government takes a vital role in protecting human rights for everyone.This,she said,is possible die to the fact that the Norway works hand in hand with the United Nations (With the General Assembly in New York and Human Rights Assembly in Geneva) and bilaterrally through Pilot Embassies and other human rights bodies/organizations.

In 2008,Norway was part nations that signed the Human Rights,gender Identity and orientation statement that called for the decriminalization of homosexuality.The statement was supported by 66 countries that included 6 African countries.Norway was also part and parcel of the Universal Peer Review that GALCK also took part in.

The Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry has guidelines on its embassies abroad on human rights issues.The embassies,among other things;

* Following on local events.
* Maintaining contacts with human rights organizations,and LGBTI groups.
* Raise awareness on LGBTI rights.
* Offer support to H.I.V activities.
* Respond to unfair arrests and harassment/abuse.

The Norwegian government,in their efforts to combat discrimination to LGBTI persons,have 4 pilot embassies in Kenya,Uganda,Nepal and Nicaragua. Pilot Embassies focus more on LGBTI rights.

The Ambassador also had an opportunity to listen to first hand cases of violence against LGBTI persons in Kenya.The 5member organizations had representatives each o present on various cases.The most common scenarios included;

* Denial of medical service provision.
* Discrimination at work places and schools.
* Physical and verbal abuse.
* Sexual Violence.

It was however,discovered that most of the violations that LGBTI persons go through,go under reported resulting to suffering of the victims which normally results to depression,Isolation,stress,paranoia and in extreme cases,suicide.

In the afternoon session of the seminar,participants brainstormed on various recomendations and suggestions on ways of fighting Hate Motivated Violence in Kenya,Such included;

* Striving to reduce internalized homophobia and preventing fights among ourselves.
* Increased public awareness through lectures, discussion forums, media and cooperation with friendly NGO’s.
* Engaging in community volunteer work.
* Participation in Sports, arts and cultural events.
* Strengthening local LGBTI organizations and forming new ones when there are no existing organizations.
* Security training(ways of carrying ourselves to the public), self defense workshops and provision of safe spaces for LGBTI persons.
* Regional and International co-operation through exchange programs.
* Collaboration with Human rights organizations to lobby for removal of oppressive laws; decriminalization of homosexuality.
* Advocating for equal medical service provision to LGBTI persons.
* Sensitization of human rights to authorities and LGBTI persons.
* Working with friendly family members of LGBTI persons.

The findings of the seminar shall be compiled in a comprehensive report that shall be hopefully printed and sent to the relevant human rights bodies.

“The fundamental rights of [humanity] are, first: the right of habitation; second, the right to move freely; third, the right to the soil and subsoil, and to the use of it; fourth, the right of freedom of labor and of exchange; fifth, the right to justice; sixth, the right to live within a natural national organization; and seventh, the right to education.”-Albert Schweitzer.

In Solidarity,
Ken Majangah,
For The Exchange Crew.



March 1, 2010 – Infectious Disease News

7b
Transactional intercourse between MSM sex workers, women in Kenya may be frequent

More than half of male sex workers in Mombasa, Kenya who predominantly have male clients may also be having intercourse with women, according to findings presented at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco. Adrian Smith, MSc, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, said that as many as 59% of men who have sex with men sex workers may have regular transactional encounters with one or more female partners. “This fundamentally changes ideas on the directionality of sex work,” he said. The aim of the study was to determine the nature of interactions between the HIV epidemics among MSM and heterosexual populations in Africa.

“We observed a lower HIV prevalence among MSM sex workers who had sex with women than in those who only had sex with men,” Smith said. Eighty-three participating MSM sex workers completed questionnaires and recorded details of 1,014 sexual partners in a diary during the course of six weeks. Data on 215 (17%) female partners were recorded. Among 43 recent female partners, 81% were unmarried and 19% were married. Three of those women were spouses of MSM sex workers.

The workers received money for sex from 144 women. MSM sex workers paid the women for sex in 18% of the encounters. Among single-episode contacts, 99 of 138 were paying female clients. Payment was given in 45 of 77 recurring sexual relationships. Penetrative intercourse occurred in 99% of the sexual encounters between women and MSM sex workers. Those encounters were broken down as follows: 87% vaginal, 54% anal and 43% for both. Among the sexual acts, unprotected penetrative vaginal sex occurred in 38% of encounters, and unprotected anal sex occurred in 46% of encounters.

“Most unprotected acts overall occurred in partnerships that were new and being paid for by the female partner,” Smith said. “However, the chance of an individual encounter being unprotected was highest in a regular partnership where no money changed hands. Condom use was lowest within enduring, nontransactional partnerships.”

According to Smith, public misconceptions about the safety of anal sex vs. vaginal sex may exist. “They may think that anal sex is not as dangerous,” he said.

“Little is known of the personal risk awareness and motivations for women seeking sex with MSM sex workers,” Smith said. “These issues of risk are being overlooked by interventions targeting risk reduction between MSM alone. Interventionsshould consider that MSM sex workers may be having female partners.” — by Rob Volansky

For more information: Smith A. #39. Presented at: 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; Feb. 16-19, 2010; San Francisco.



March 8, 2010 – Gay Uganda

7c
New Threats, in Mombasa, Kenya

The Government in Kenya is Reluctant to Protect Citizens of Kenya, because they are gay. Those who are not gay can issue threats on the Radio Stations with impunity. And promise and then carry out Genocide or Ethnic Cleansing with impunity. Now, they say that the next attacks will be more brutal. And, they will happen after Friday Prayers on 12 Mar. 2010 Now, we all know. What will the Government of Kenya for its citizens who are gay and persecuted for that reason? Read this heartrending letter of appeal.

Hello All,

A fresh Threat to Gay People in Mombasa has been issued, a statement read to local journalists after the evening Prayers last Friday reads in Part… "Homosexuals are not human beings and should be treated as such….. The KEMRI-UW research centre has been given 7 Days to close or we shall attack it on Friday next week (This week)"

This statement was broadcast by Baraka FM a local religious station on Friday at 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm news bulletin other local stations also reported on the story. Considering that this is how it started last time, if you remember we raised an alarm a day earlier and the attacks happened the following day, I advise that we take precaution and consider informing all our contacts in Mombasa about the Lurking Danger.

We would like to thank all the people who came to our rescue last Time. The Kenya human rights commission, PEMA Kenya, GALC and all those who selflessly hosted our brothers and continue doing so, we need all your support now than ever before, because there is negative talk that the Muslims in Mtwapa want to make an example of someone, they are vowing not to take anyone to the police this time. Keep us in your hearts and as earlier requested, anyone who can assist especially in the area of reaching out to the Muslim community or the security apparatus will be highly appreciated.

Thank you all.



March 9, 2010 – Other Sheep

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Other Sheep Kenya conducts three coastal PFLAG seminars:

30 Muslim religious leaders, 32 Christian religious leaders, and 9 LGBTI people – each attend respective, focused seminar

by Rev. John Makokha
Nairobi, Kenya – Other Sheep Kenya team facilitated three seminars in the coastal region of Kenya for Christian religious leaders, LGBTI and Muslim religious leaders to address religious homophobia and transphobia. These seminars were organized under the PFLAG project to reduce persecution and rejection of the gay community in the coastal town in view of the recent attacks of gay persons in Mtwapa, a town in the region of Mombasa. Mombasa is about 400 Km from Nairobi.

Read Article



10 March 2010 – LGBT Asylum News

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Continuing threats to gays on Kenya’s coast

by Paul Canning
A Christian Radio Station in Mombasa, Kenya, is continuing to broadcast threats against local LGBT. Baraka FM, along with others, has been implicate in inciting the attempted pogrom February 11-13 in Mtwapa, near Mombasa.

Blogger GayUganda -reports receiving an email stating that the station read out the following threat: "Homosexuals are not human beings and should be treated as such….. The KEMRI-UW research centr has been given 7 Days to close or we shall attack it on Friday next week [12 Feb]" The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) clinic in Mtwapa was the centre of the mob attacks, due to it providing HIV/AIDS services to men who have sex with men (MSM).

The author of the email said:
Considering that this is how it started last time, if you remember we raised an alarm a day earlier and the attacks happened the following day, I advise that we take precaution and consider informing all our contacts in Mombasa about the Lurking Danger. There is negative talk that the Muslims in Mtwapa want to make an example of someone, they are vowing not to take anyone to the police this time. Keep us in your hearts and as earlier requested, anyone who can assist especially in the area of reaching out to the Muslim community or the security apparatus will be highly appreciated.

Police rescued a number of gay men from mob attacks, fueled by rumours of a ‘gay wedding’ and believed to have been organised, and released them without charge. Human rights activist Muthoni Wanyeki, a executive member of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, has praised the actions of the police.

Attempts at dialogue
Following the mob attacks, Sheikh Ali Hussein, Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Kikambala coordinator, and the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK)’s Kilifi District representative, Bishop Laurence Chai, had continued to threaten the KEMRI clinic and rejected government attempts to calm the situation by joining a committee which aims to educate wananchi (the public) on the operations of the clinic. Kenyan LGBT Christian organisation Other Sheep supported by the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative (EASHRI) reached out, facilitating three seminars for Christian religious leaders, LGBTI and Muslim religious leaders in the Mombasa region to address religious homophobia and transphobia.

Leader Michael Kimindu said:
The association had decided to use the two major religions to create awareness on issues of human sexuality and religion. We went to Mtwapa and talked to Christians and they asked for more time and education to discuss issues of sexual orientation and the bible. They held a seminar for 32 Christian pastors drawn from various denominational backgrounds 5 March in Mtwapa. The chairman of the Mtwapa Pastors’ interdenominational Fellowship, secretary and treasurer participated in the workshop.
They aim to organise further workshops aiming to reach out to about 350 clergy in Mtwapa.

These will provide:
* more resource materials on LGBTI and Christianity for further reference and study
* seminars on the bible and sexuality.

The pastors said that 95% of religious leaders in Mtwapa have no college education and that negative reactions to homosexuality come from ignorance. They pledged to nurture the spirit of tolerance and acceptance of people of different sexual orientation without resorting to violence, and follow the model of Jesus. They were trained in the areas of sexual orientation, religious homophobia and transphobia, culture and LGBTI, counseling of LGBTI and PFLAG (parents and friends of lesbians and gays) and MSM HIV/AIDS initiatives.

The following day the group met with 30 top Muslim religious leaders in a Mombasa hotel. They included the leader of Muslim men in Kenya, the leader of Muslim women in Kenya and the leader of Muslim youth in Kenya, Chairman of Kenya Muslims Advisory and director of NACADA, which deals with substance abuse. Similar to the outcome of the meeting with the Christian pastors the leaders wanted more dialogue on religious interpretations of dealings with homosexuality: "counseling of LGBTI instead of stoning to death of homosexuals".

One Muslim observation was:
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed killing everybody in these cities but strange enough homosexuality is still in existence, so by stoning homosexuals to death isn’t the solution, but understanding them. Women at the meeting complained that Sheikhs and Imams ask for anal sex from their wives and sleep with young boys in the community/mosques. This puts them at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

Other Sheep Kenya also met with local LGBT in Mombasa who reported great ignorance on HIV/AIDS as well as discrimination based on skin colour, with darker skinned gays being more harassed than lighter skinned ones. One outcome was to do outreach to the local media. As well KEMRI took part in a media clinic at a Mombasa hotel 4 March. They told journalists that 15.2 per cent of all new HIV infections in Kenya were through men having sex with men.

Dr Mary Mwang’ombe, KEMRI researcher based at Mtwapa, said that it was difficult for researchers to gain access to homosexuals and investigate their HIV risk behaviour and prevalence rates. Most of these men live a secluded lifestyle to avoid being discriminated against by the police and the health care personnel. In addition to the clinic, a gay-friendly Mombasa bar, Club California, is facing closure following the imposition of ‘impossible demands’ by local authorities. The Department of Public Health visited the club 12 February, the day of the riot, and issued a notice demanding undefined improvements to the club’s "sanitary conditions".

Read Entire Article



March 10, 2010 – Daily Nation

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You can’t wish away African gays

by David Kuria
Gay rights activism has reached a point of no return even in Africa, events in Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Zambia and Mtwapa notwithstanding.
It’s unfortunate that the Church stands at the vanguard for this extremely unjust violation of rights of gays, lesbians, transgender and intersex Kenyans.

Mr Kuria is manager, Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya



April 7, 2010 – Behind The Mask

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IGLHRC Slams Kenyan Anti-gay Website

by Lesego Tlhwale (BTM Intern)
Kenya – A gay rights activist in Kenya is receiving death threats and has been attacked on several occasions by random people who have seen and read about him in an anti-gay website that publishes and puts up posters of suspected homosexuals in different cities of Kenya, as ‘Not Wanteds’.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) revealed this week, as it denounced the website , stating that it is a violation of rights and that it victimises people, in the name of religion.

The website was allegedly created by Jonathan O’Toole of Kansas City and endorsed by religious leaders. The website explains, “the ProjectSEE coalition exists to expose the ‘who, what, where, when, why, how, and to what extent’ of the satanic efforts to legalize abortion, homosexuality and the otherwise contaminate Kenya with tolerance for the rebellious abominations that have corrupted the USA and Europe, and caused unbelievers to blaspheme the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

It further states that “the influence of the United States of America (USA) on all the nations of earth cannot be denied. When evil becomes our largest export, the whole world is contaminated by our presence. Kenya is a perfect example of how the USA has become the largest exporter of evil in the world.”

Meanwhile David Kuria, Manager of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya has become the recent victim of the website, with his picture, email address and telephone numbers published in a poster. “I am very unhappy with the issue of the website and it has raised some security concerns which need to be addressed.” He added “there have been threats that have led to changes in the way we do things in our organisation. We have to be more cautious for our security.”

“The website has jeopardized the safety of one person’s right to life since he has been receiving threats and has been attacked, we oppose it and it can not go unchallenged”, Monica Mbaru of IGLHRC said. She added that the commission is presently seeking legal opinion from its New York contacts to see how it can contribute in deactivating the website. Kuria also revealed that there have been efforts to bring down the website, “but unfortunately the website is hosted in the US, which has liberal media laws.”




20 April 2010 – Irin News

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Kenya: Bisexual male sex workers run big risks

Mombasa(PlusNews) – At a nightclub in Mombasa, on the Kenyan coast, Tito Bakari* a local man, and Leonard Smithberger, a tourist, make out in a dark corner before the bouncer asks them to leave. Hand in hand they walk to another bar nearby, where they party through the night. "My love from Germany has been here since Easter – the party has just begun," Bakari told IRIN/PlusNews. Smithberger visits Kenya a few times every year and showers gifts and money on Bakari, who moves out of the house he shares with his wife and child and into his lover’s hotel.

Up to 60 percent of male sex workers in Mombasa also have female sexual partners, according to a recent study presented at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco. "Although most sex partners of MSM-SW [men who have sex with men sex workers] are men, sex with local women is also common, usually transactional, and often unprotected," the study noted. "Little is known of the personal risk awareness and motivations for women seeking sex with MSM-SW; however, these issues risk being overlooked by interventions targeting risk reduction between MSM alone."

Kenya’s latest AIDS Indicator Survey attributed 15.2 percent of new HIV infections to men who have sex with men, and they are widely thought to be a bridge for HIV transmission to the general population.

Low awareness
The government is conducting a survey that will inform its first HIV campaigns targeted at MSM, who have so far been left out of HIV prevention efforts, allowing them to gain a mistakenly low perception of their own risk. "My wife knows that I am bisexual, but I provide her needs and equally satisfy her sexually. I even have two children with her, so she never complains," said Ben Maina*, a male sex worker in Mombasa who doesn’t always use condoms with his clients, and never with his wife.

My wife knows that I am bisexual, but I provide her needs and equally satisfy her sexually…so she never complains In 2007, another study in Mombasa found that the high prevalence of HIV in Kenyan MSM was probably due to unprotected receptive anal sex and low condom use. Despite the risks and the lack of acceptance by society, Maina makes too much money to consider leaving the trade – in a country where half the population lives on less than US$1 per day, he can earn up to $365 per week. "The cash assists me in providing for my family," he said.

Denial
Dr Mary Mwangombe, a researcher at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), in the coastal town of Kilifi, said HIV programming for men who have sex with men and their partners – both male and female – was difficult because of the illegal nature of homosexuality and the public’s intolerance of it. "Most male commercial sex workers live and go about their business secretively to avoid being victimized, either by the council officials, the police or the public at large," she told IRIN/PlusNews.

In February a "gay wedding" in the coastal town of Mtwapa was halted by the police and an angry mob, who also stormed KEMRI’s offices, claiming the organization was harbouring gay men. Mwangombe said, "Doctors and counsellors have faced stiff challenges, not only on the misconceptions about HIV transmission and prevalence, but also in convincing other stakeholders and the general public that high-risk sexual behaviour such as this is a reality in Kenya."

* Not their real names



May 18 2010 – Daily nation

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Kenya gay demand recognition

by Lucas Bararsa and Joy Wanja
In Summary – Event marked the annual International Day against Homophobia to initiate public dialogue among Kenyans on gender identity and sexual orientation. Scores of Kenya homosexuals celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia in style Monday and demanded for more recognition. The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBIT) persons wined, sung and danced and for the first time allowed media coverage of their function to fight stigma and victimisation associated with their sexual orientation.

“Ten years ago there was no public place that could have hosted such a function,” Kenya Human Rights Commission director Muthoni Wanyeki, whose lobby organised the event at the National Museums of Kenya, said. “Although the Committee of Experts did not allow same sex marriage in Kenya. The Proposed Constitution would enable all Kenyans access health and are free from discrimination and violence. The basic rights are for all Kenyans including people from the gay community.”

Ms Wanyeki, however, said despite the government allowing the gay community to meet the battle against harassment of and violence against sexual minorities is still on.

Same sex relationships
Activist Kate Kamunde, who sung lyrics urging the gay to unite and battle hate crime and homophobia, said the community was facing a lot of violence and that some parents stopped paying fees for their children after discovering they were engaged in same sex relationship. “People have to understand gay people are normal like anybody else only that they love differently. People think it is un-African or is a sickness. Spaces are, however, opening up to accommodate us which was not possible two years ago,” Ms Kamunde said.

Ms Kamunde regretted that government officials gave the function a wide birth despite being invited. Mr Dennis Nzioka, a religious relationship assistant at Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (Galck), said experts put the population of homosexuals in the world at 6 percent, the same applied to Kenya and urged religious leaders to tolerate them. “We are born this way. We are created this way. We want to feel comfortable when we come to church. They should stop preaching discrimination against gay people. Just as I am proud to be African I am proud of being gay. There’s nothing wrong with what we are doing,” the 24 year old said.

Mr Nzioka was happy that homosexuals could now be allowed to meet in the open and that his family also understands him. “If we had a family meeting, I usually went with my boyfriend but I am currently not dating,” he said, adding that there were already many gay marriages in Kenya “although we don’t expect licensing in near future". He said homosexuals need access to medical services and housing.

Condemn prejudice
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) commissioner Lawrence Mute condemned prejudice on grounds of their sexual orientation. “Let us ensure nobody is discriminated either in school, at work or even in the society especially because of who they are,” Mr Mute told participants.
Dr Ben Sihanya, the dean of the School of Law at the University of Nairobi emphasised on the need to focus on issues of sexual minorities in the country.

“We are quick at criminalising issues that we do not understand,” he challenged homophobes, who harbour negative attitudes and feelings towards homosexuality Galck official David Kuria termed both religious homophobia and transphobia as ‘senseless violence,’ and called a society that was more tolerant to the welfare and needs of LGBIT persons in the country.

Transphobia refers to discrimination against transsexuality and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity. According to organisers, the event marked the annual International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO) in a bid to initiate public dialogue among Kenyans on gender identity and sexual orientation.

It also targeted to highlight the negative linkage between homophobia and the spread of HIV and the need for better access to health services for LGBIT persons. It was also expected to promote peace build as diverse Kenyans to discourage intolerance of that begets violence. On December 1, 2006 Galck participated in the World Aids Day. This was the first ever public event that the LGBTI persons were participating in Kenya, without having to hide their sexual orientation.



30 May 2010 – All Africa

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Kenya: New Drive to Fight Aids Among Gays

by Cosmas Butunyi
Nairobi — Kenya is embarking on a new strategy to combat the spread of HIV/Aids among the gay community. The government will establish special round the clock clinics, facilitate the importation of protective gear such as condoms and lubricants, train health workers on how to handle those seeking healthcare and roll out a vigorous sex education campaign among the youth. Also lined up is a series of studies that will provide an understanding on the link between gay people and HIV/Aids.
This follows revelation that the high concentration of the disease amongst gay men is finding its way into the general population through normal sexual encounters.

The National Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infection Control Programme (NASCOP) estimates that risky population segments such as gay men contribute up to one third of the country’s 90,000 new infections annually. On their own, the gay men are responsible for 15.2 per cent of this. Presently, the national HIV/Aids prevalence rate stands at 7.4 per cent, whereas amongst gay men, it increases to between 14 and 50 per cent.

Preston Izulla, who is involved in a HIV/Aids programme targeting gays, says despite the huge risk that the gay community is exposed to, less than five per cent have access to HIV/Aids prevention and care. Dr Izulla says that gay men are up to 10 times more likely to contract HIV/Aids and sexually transmitted infections compared with opposite sex couples.

The manager of Gays and Lesbians Coalition of Kenya David Kuria admits that over half of the gay people in Kenya have opposite sex spouses. This is used as a decoy for their activities. According to Helga Mutua, who is in charge of programmes targeting such populations at Nacscop, Voluntary Counselling and Testing centres will also be established in prisons, where many incidences of homosexuality have been reported.



July 2010 – Behind The Mask

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Kenyan Gays Learn Their Rights As New Law Is Proposed

With a view to raise awareness about available protections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Kenyans in the Bill of Rights Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya hosted a Civic Education day on 19 June. The proposed new constitution, a summary of 18 chapters, was a theme for this day with discussions on how it will affect the Kenyan LGBT community. According to Eric Gitari, programme associate of the Kenya Human Rights Commission the event focused at “contentious issues and on demystifying the lies and half truths in the ongoing referendum campaign.”

Other issues discussed were the criminal law provisions relevant to LGBT people and the general civil law relating to employment, access to healthcare, parenting options of the LGBTI people’s tenancy disputes and incidentals. “We sought to highlight opportunities and institutional avenues for change on LGBT issues in the existing and proposed law and strategically prepare and encourage them to use these institutional avenues for the promotion and protection of their rights and issues and ensure that all LGBTI persons have access to voter education that recognises their equality and non discrimination struggle”, Gitari said.

He added, “the day sought to highlight the capacities of LGBT persons, break down negative stereotypes of LGBTI persons, foster strategic linkages and partnerships at all levels in the LGBTI community and promote their full participation in the electoral process by encouraging their participation in civic affairs in a manner that seeks to align with the advocacy objective of equality and non discrimination.”

According to the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers the Kenyan National Assembly approved a new draft constitution in April and this brings Kenyans to the last stage of a process that started in the early 90s. “The bill of rights in the proposed and current constitutions guides debate on what legal avenues LGBTI persons can use to seek redress for discrimination or unequal treatment. It also highlights institutional avenues for redress and decriminalisation of consensual same sex acts.” Gitari explained. The event which attracted more than 150 persons some form the LGBTI Community was a huge success according to Gitari and “The discussions were quite participatory, meaningful and provocative.”

Gitari also indicated that that there will be other discussions such as these in future. “We are rolling out to Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Meru and Eldoret for similar discussions targeting same demographics”, he said. According to the KHRC arbitrary arrests of Kenyans by police and violent attacks by members of the public of male Kenyans on suspicion of homosexuality have been rife in recent years and in response to these, the KHRC says it continues to monitor and respond to discriminative practices and violations against sexual minorities.

In Kenya homosexuality is illegal and punishable by 14 years imprisonment. Gitari pointed out that having days such as these in which key issues affecting the LGBTI community are discussed “sought to ensure informed and issue based engagements during the referendum process especially during the civic education, campaigns, dispute resolution and voting phases.” The Kenya Human Rights Commission is a National Non-Governmental Organisation founded in 1991 with the aim of defending human rights and advocating for political reforms in Kenya. The organisations envisions a Kenya that respects, protects and promotes human rights and democratic values with the belief that it is possible to realise a new Kenyan society based on a human rights culture that upholds the dignity of all its members equally and without discrimination.



October 1, 2010 – Daily Nation

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Murugi urges Kenyans to accept gays

by Galgalo Bocha
A Cabinet minister has stirred a hornet’s nest with a suggestion that Kenyans should accept homosexuality and learn to live with it.
Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi told participants at a national symposium on HIV/Aids in Mombasa targeting homosexuals, lesbians and sex workers that the government had no option but to address the community’s concerns. “We need to learn to live with men who have sex with other men… we are in the 21st century and things have changed,” she told the gathering on Thursday.

Participants at the seminar were mainly homosexuals, lesbians and sex workers, dubbed “most at risk population” because their sexual behaviour puts them at greatest risk of HIV infection. Ms Murugi said the group was an independent constituency and should not be stigmatised because of sexual inclination. She told the National Aids Control Council to compile statistics to enable the government to develop a policy to cut prevalence rates among the group. “This symposium is critical in ensuring that risk factors are discussed and taken into consideration in national planning for HIV and Aids,” said the minister.

Religious leaders were on Friday furious at the minister. Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya organising secretary Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa said the utterances were “satanic and contrary to Africa culture”. “God in his holy books (Quran and Bible) cursed homosexuality and directed us to fight it. The minister has offended Kenyans who passed a new constitution that criminalises the vice,” he said.

Sheikh Khalifa urged President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to take stern action against the minister. Kenya National Muslim Advisory Council chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao demanded that Ms Murugi resigns or be sacked. “The minister and National Aids Control Council officials should create their own country which allows homosexual, lesbian and prostitution acts,” he said.



10 October 2010 – The Guardian

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Gay rights in Africa: now for the good news
– Although times are still hard for gays and lesbians in many African countries, hard-won gains are being made

by Paul Canning
If all you ever read about gay people in Africa is in the western media (including gay media), you would be forgiven for thinking it’s one endless horror story. This year, we’ve had the anti-gay riot in the Kenyan town of Mtwapa, the arrest and subsequent pardoning of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Malawi and, of course, the "gay executions" bill in Uganda.

Largely unnoticed amid all that has been the quickening development of gay communities and movements in many parts of Africa. In Kenya, for instance, David Kuria – a gay man – is standing for the senate. If elected, he’ll be the second openly gay politician in Africa (the first is South Africa’s Ian Ollis). Kuria, who is director of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), is already well known to Kenyans from frequent TV appearances. His prominence has also resulted in him being targeted by American evangelicals.

Kuria’s candidacy for the senate is the latest development in GALCK’s "gradualist" strategy, which involves building alliances with civil society groups and talking with religious leaders. This showed its worth in the successful deflation of an anti-gay backlash following the February riot. The strategy seems to be paying off. "We have to accept [gay] people the way they are and embrace them in the society," the Kenyan special programmes minister Esther Murugi told an HIV/Aids conference last month. Her words ignited a storm but, despite various Christian and Muslim leaders calling for her head, she has refused to resign. Defending her, justice minister Mutula Kilonzo called discrimination in HIV/Aids services a "gross violation of human rights".

Elsewhere – in Zambia and Malawi, for instance – governments are increasingly recognising that tackling HIV/Aids means recognising that gay people exist. The new visibility in Kenya was seen last month when gay people openly joined a march in Nairobi demanding improvements to the Kenyan health system. They were well received, says Kuria.

"Increasingly the movement is becoming mainstreamed as legitimate stakeholders in the civil society," he added. "It is not uncommon to hear people now talk on the issues of sexual minorities in the same sentence with other minorities – this coming from people who only a couple of years, even months ago would not have even listened to such issues."

Here in Britain, it is only relatively recently that we have moved from repression to acceptance, and it took 38 years from the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, through the Thatcher government’s Section 28, to arrive at civil partnerships 38 years later. Africa, now, is going through the same process we went through. Increased visibility = increased awareness = increased repression = eventual acceptance?

In Uganda, civil society groups and prominent figures including Bishop Christopher Senyonjo have rallied to defend LGBT rights in the face of a barely disguised genocidal push. In July, the former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae, called for the repeal of sodomy laws. In Cameroon, gay leader Steave Nemande says media coverage of homosexuality is fast improving.

In South Africa two weeks ago a massive march in Soweto said no to the epidemic of "corrective rape" of lesbians. "Anti-gay mob violence remains a problem, but the post-apartheid ANC government has trailblazed," Peter Tatchell says of South Africa. He describes the country’s legislative gains (which include gay marriage) as "a beacon for LGBT rights all across Africa".

Pan-African movements like the Coalition of African Lesbians and African Men for Sexual Health and Rights are growing, and now an East African network is under formation. Kuria says: "We have numerous listserves and increasingly we are meeting at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights." Tatchell points out: "The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights – with its guarantees of universal equal treatment and non-discrimination – offers a legal framework for the securing of LGBT equality legislation."

Cary Alan Johnson of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission describes the progress of African LGBT movements as astounding:

"Movements are more professionally run, politically smarter, more accountable and transparent, and more diverse. In almost every country, there are emerging organisations and political spaces for queer women, transpeople, those who want to be political, those whose interests are more social. Community centres and safe spaces are emerging continent-wide. In the face of much adversity and homophobia, it’s actually quite a heady moment."



6 October 2010 – IRIN News

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Religious outrage over minister’s support of gay rights

Nairobi(PlusNews) – A Kenyan cabinet minister who called for greater acceptance of gays by society has been accused of promoting ‘un-African’ acts and asked to resign. Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi recommended more tolerance towards men who have sex with men (MSM) at a national symposium on "most-at-risk populations" in the coastal city of Mombasa last week. Several Christian and Muslim religious leaders, including the Federation of Evangelical and Indigenous Christian Churches of Kenya, have called for Murugi’s resignation and threatened street protests if she is not fired immediately.

"She cannot say people who are engaging in crime and spoiling our children have rights," said Sheikh Mohamed Dor, a Member of Parliament and religious preacher. "We are waiting for when she will be fired from her post." Religious leaders in Kenya have often used their considerable influence to sway public opinion. While religious groups have contributed significantly to the care of people living with HIV, their frequent opposition to providing HIV services to MSM, and the promotion of condom use, has led to clashes with national HIV policy.

Dr Nicholas Muraguri, head of the country’s National AIDS and Sexually transmitted infections Control Programme (NASCOP), defended Murugi’s stance. "This is one group that accounts for the spread of HIV in the country in a big way because they have been largely ignored," he told IRIN/PlusNews. "Accepting that they exist and providing services such as HIV prevention and care to them openly is the only option."

MSM, sex workers and injecting drug users are among the groups most at risk of HIV infection in Kenya. The latest national AIDS Indicator Survey attributed 15 percent of new HIV infections to MSM, and they are widely thought to be a bridge for HIV transmission to the general population as many also have female partners. "What critics don’t understand is that the person closest to them could be falling in the same group they are loudly condemning," Muraguri commented.

The government plans to incorporate MSM into the country’s HIV programme after a national survey of the high-risk group, due to start in December 2010, has been completed. Kenya’s recently promulgated constitution does not specifically mention homosexuality, but the penal code makes "carnal acts against the order of nature" punishable by up to 14 years in prison. The latest strategic plan for HIV/AIDS recognizes the "difficult legal issues" in trying to provide healthcare directly to groups like MSM, and notes that there is a need to come up with policies that will make it easier for them to access services.

Derrick*, a male sex worker in the capital, Nairobi, said the sort of condemnation directed at the minister was what convinced people like him to remain in the shadows. "Just imagine – if a minister can be condemned like that, then what would happen to an ordinary citizen like me?" he said. "They would just stone you to death."

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]



October 12, 2010 – Behind The Mask

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Kenya’s Constitution Minister Wants Gays Rights Respected

by Ken Were (BTM Correspondent)
Kenyan Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Mutula Kilonzo, has expressed his support for gays and lesbians access to health services without being discriminated against, making him the second cabinet minister to embrace gay rights. The minister spoke passionately on the need to uphold the rights of the marginalised, particularly based on sexual orientation, barely a week after his Special Programmes colleague, Esther Murugi, publicly urged the government to help the gay community in the war against HIV and Aids.

Mutula warned that those who violate the law by discriminating against the LGBTI community will face full force of the law. “This will be a very gross violation of our Bill of Rights in the new constitution if anyone attempts to discriminate members of the minority groups”, the minister stressed adding that no one should be denied services on grounds of his or her sexual orientation.

The minister was addressing journalists after the East African Region Professionals Conference at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya. He said everyone is open to equal medical treatment in the society. The human rights movement in Kenya has accused a section of the Church and Muslim leaders for roundly condemning remarks by the two cabinet ministers in support of gay rights particularly regarding accessing medical care.



November 04, 2010 – The Advocate

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Kenyan Prisons Curb Gay Sex With Cameras

by Julie Bolcer
Following reports of homosexuality in the country’s prisons, Kenyan authorities plan to resort to Big Brother, and not condoms, by installing surveillance cameras to deter inmates from having gay sex. According to the Daily Nation, officials said the cameras were needed because of the difficultly of proving the allegations. Despite calls for condoms to be introduced to the prisons, HIV/AIDS prevention kits will not be distributed.

“We don’t know what happens in the prison dormitories when the inmates retire to bed. We just receive claims that some inmates engage in homosexuality,” said prisons commissioner Isaiah Osugo, according to the Daily Nation. “In order to avoid speculation on the matter, we shall install closed-circuit television cameras in all dormitories so that we can catch the culprits,” he said.



November 28 2010 – Daily Nation

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Kenya PM orders gays’ arrest

by Lucas Barasa
Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday ordered for the arrest of gay couples. Addressing a rally at Kamukunji grounds in his Langata Constituency, the PM said their behaviour was unnatural. “If found the homosexuals should be arrested and taken to relevant authorities,” Mr Odinga said.

The PM thrilled the crowd when he asserted that the recent census showed there were more women than men and there was no need for same sex relationships. He said it was madness for a man to fall in love with another man while there were plenty of women and added that there was no need for women to engage in lesbianism yet they can bear children. Mr Odinga’s statement is likely to rub activists the wrong way since they recently went public to campaign against homophobia.

The remarks also come months after Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi attracted the wrath of Kenyans for calling for recognition and acceptance of gays. On Sunday, Mr Odinga accused the ‘No’ team of misleading Kenyans during the campaigns that the new constitution recognises same sex relationships. He said the group opposed to the new constitution was wrong when they implied that that the document would promote abortion.

Mr Odinga said the new Constitution is the most progressive in the world and took issue with Suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto for going round the country thanking people for voting ‘No’ yet “the constitution passed long time ago.” The Eldoret North MP was the defacto leader of group opposed to new constitution. Mr Odinga said the balls is now in leaders and government court to implement the new constitution so that Kenyans could enjoy its benefits.

He said the government is capable of resolving rows that have threatened to delay or hinder the implementation of new constitution. The PM also refuted the inclusion of Kamukunji as an outlawed group. “Kamukunji is a lawful organisation. As the Prime Minister of Kenya I have said Kamukunji is is a lawful organisation,” Mr Odinga said.

Nominated MP Millie Odhiambo who concurred with the PM said the law on organised crime must comply with the constitution. She said the Kamukunji group, whose members contribute Sh20 every Sunday, was free to meet and that police should stop unlawful harassment.



2 December 2010 – PinkNews

19
Kenyan prime minister denies saying gays should be arrested

by PinkNews.co.uk Staff Writer
The prime minister of Kenya claims he never said that gays and lesbians should be arrested. Raila Odinga was recorded discussing homosexuality at a rally last Sunday. He is said to have remarked: “If a man is caught having sex with the other we jail them, or if a girl is caught with the other … we will jail them”.

“We want a country that is clean, a clean way of doing thing has clean mannerisms … we do not want things to do with sodomy,” he added. However, he said today that although homosexuality remains illegal in Kenya, he had not ordered the arrest of gays and lesbians. Mr Odinga said: “It was said that I ordered the arrest of gay people but nothing could be further from the truth. I did not say that. I was just explaining the propaganda used by people who were campaigning against the new constitution.”

“I understand there are gay rights,” he added, according to Capital News. Earlier this week, his spokesman, Dennis Onyango, said that the prime minister had been trying to say that groups opposed to Kenya’s new Constitution had claimed it would legalise gay marriage in order to get people to vote against it.

Kenyan gays and lesbians held a silent protest this week to call for Mr Odinga to retract his remarks. One LGBT group, Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, said it had received frightened phone calls from gay and HIV-positive people who feared they could be taken into custody when collecting their HIV medication.

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