Kenya: Human Rights Commissioner Confronts Homophobic Statements by Council of Imams in Mombasa

Recently the Council of Imams and Preachers of Coastal Kenya, along with Muslim youth groups, have launched a campaign to eradicate homosexuality and prostitution from Kenya's second city, Mombasa. The groups claim that homosexuality and immorality are on the rise in Kenya. Lawrence Mute of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has taken a brave and progressive stand against hate speech. His statement, issued to Kenya media, is reprinted below.

"The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights is always deeply concerned when those in positions of authority and responsibility make comments that might be understood as some in the community to be a call to violence against another community or group of people - in his case homosexual people.

Whilst the law in Kenya criminalizes homosexual acts between men, the law does not criminalize a community or an individual because of his or her sexual or gender identity.

KNCHR calls upon the government to ensure that this situation does not become a witch hunt of people whose rights are protected like any other Kenyan citizen. Whilst the KNCHR recognizes and respects the rights of religious institutions and individuals to hold their opinions; these
opinions must not be allowed to victimize or place at risk any other community or individual."

Lawrence Mute
Commissioner, KNCHR