(Nairobi) – Mobs in Kenya’s coastal region have repeatedly attacked people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, PEMA Kenya and Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. In at least six incidents between 2008 and 2015, mobs in the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, and Kilifi have attacked or threatened lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people or health workers serving the LGBT community, without sufficient response from authorities.
The 70-page report, “The Issue is Violence: Attacks on LGBT People on Kenya’s Coast,” is based on research conducted in 2014 and 2015 by Human Rights Watch and PEMA Kenya, a community organization in Mombasa that provides support to gender and sexual minorities on human rights, health, HIV/AIDS, and economic well-being. The groups documented rights abuses against members of sexual minorities in Kenya’s coast region, including mob violence, assault, rape, incitement to violence, and inadequate protection. The groups identified ways the Kenyan authorities could improve their response to these abuses.
“For many LGBT people in the coast region, safety is a daily concern,” said Esther Adhiambo, executive director of PEMA Kenya. “While police treatment of LGBT people has improved in recent years, discrimination remains a major problem. LGBT peoples’ justified fear of reporting hate crimes to the police means that violence continues with impunity.”