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.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles. 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
General Manager – GALCK.