Revv22's Blog

June 29, 2013

Love as a Crime: My statement at the launch of the Amnesty International Report by hte same title.

In Kenya, like in many African countries, gender transgression and non-heterosexual orientation are not as widely accepted and recognized as in some parts of the world. This can be attributed to the patriarchal nature in which most of our cultures are set up; a set-up that has, since time immemorial, oppressed the self-determination of women, youths and anyone that seems to challenge the balance of power in society. Apart from cultures, the conservative interpretation of religious doctrines has immensely contributed to not only non-recognition but also in creating a pre-text that encourages the use of violence and discrimination against same sex loving persons.

As human rights campaigners, we know that getting to that vital point of tolerance and eventual acceptance is a process of cultural evolution that will solely rely on the dynamicity of culture.

As we wait for this cultural change however, there continues to be gross violations to the dignity, equality and basic human rights of individuals that form part of our families, communities and society. In the last seven days there men from three different towns in Kenya survived a slit throat, hammer blows to the head and a machete attack respectively. The common denominators are that all three were perceived to be homosexuals and that a week prior; a study was publicly released claiming the three towns had the highest number of gay men in the country.

On a weekly basis, about five persons fall victim to blackmailing rackets that threaten to expose them, others face evictions from their homes as their right to privacy is invaded, some are expelled from learning institutions, while other people are unable to access vital healthcare for STIs and HIV.

It is the responsibility of the government to protect the rights of these citizens. This obligation cannot be transferred or put aside for a more accommodating time. The existence of regressive laws and policies that hinder government ability to protect the fundamental human rights of its citizens should be addressed and our African government must not continue turning a blind eye.

Human rights are not relative to geography, time and tradition. They are universal- as universal as the human being- each and every one of which is born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Thank you.

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