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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL KENYA CALLS FOR RESPECT FOR AND PROTECTION OF LGBTIQ+ GROUPS IN KENYA

Nairobi, Kenya, 4 October 2023: Amnesty International Kenya is deeply concerned about the recent surge in anti-LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex and Queer persons) online and offline statements and actions. This radicalisation is being actively stimulated and has the potential to endanger the lives of members of this diverse community.

We have learned that a demonstration is being organised from places of worship to condemn this community and the Judiciary for their recent right to association judgment. While we uphold the fundamental right of every individual to picket, present petitions, and express their opinions peacefully, we also recognise that the increase in anti-LGBTI rhetoric poses a significant threat to the safety and well-being of Kenyan communities.

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. 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,” says Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton.

We remind all law enforcement agencies, especially the police, that they have an obligation to keep all Kenyan citizens safe, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination against any group is against the principles of justice and equality enshrined in our constitution. We call upon the police to ensure the safety of LGBTIQ groups and persons.

We also publicly call on the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to take proactive steps to safeguard national cohesion and harmony. We must not allow any group to propagate hate speech and discrimination that threatens national unity.

The NCIC must now actively document and recommend for prosecution any instances of harassment or violence against this minority group. LGBTIQ+ persons are members of many Kenyan families and communities nationally. They are students, teachers, health workers,lawyers, police officers, politicians, civil servants, and religious leaders. Amnesty International Kenya believes in a Kenya where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We stand by the constitutional principles of human rights, equality, and justice today as we have when other religious faiths, ethnic groups, poor and other marginalised groups have been profiled and targeted over the last decade. We will continue to monitor and advocate for mutual respect and understanding. We will also actively demand investigation and prosecution for all incidents of hate speech and hate crime against any community or individual based on their identity across our beloved nation, Kenya.

Signed

Irungu Houghton

Executive Director

Amnesty International Kenya

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