Last Friday, the Kenyan court ruled that the anti-gay laws remain in force in the country; the long awaited ruling of the #Repeal162 case. Since then, several cases have been reported in which gay men are attacked, humiliated and abused . The atrocities are filmed by bystanders and shared on social media.
Employees of partner Hoymas threatened
John Mathenge, director of our partner organisation Hoymas, is one of activists who sued the government three years ago for anti-gay legislation in the country. The legislation makes sexual acts between people of the same sex punishable by 14 years in prison. Last Friday the judge ruled that the law is not discriminatory and therefore does not violate the Kenyan constitution. After the ruling, Mathenge and other Hoymas employees were threatened online and on the street. They are now in hiding in a safe house.
John Mathenge: ‘After the ruling there is a lot of hate speech on both main stream and social media against gay people. Several cases of physical violence have been reported, including gay men being beaten and stripped of their cloths by angry crowds of people. These violations are filmed and shared online. The entire gay community lives in fear. Some gay people have been forced to leave their residents because of threats from neighbors, including myself. I can’t go back to my home. This is also affecting my colleagues at work; we are drained energy wise, but we are trying our best to make sure that our community is safe and we continue to provide health services as expected.’
John Mathenge – Director of Hoymas
The verdict also means poor access to HIV care
The verdict is a blow to the LGBT community, as well as to the fight against AIDS. In addition to discrimination and exclusion, the law ensures that LGBT people have no or poor access to HIV care. The fight for equal rights for all continues, and we need to make sure that this poor example of the Kenyan court does not set an example for the whole region.