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Gay rights are human rights, says Chief Justice Mutunga

in KENYA, 12/09/2011

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has advised lobby groups to debate gay rights arguing that they are human rights.

Mutunga was speaking in Uganda yesterday when he launched a FIDA office in Kampala. “The other frontier of marginalisation is the gay right movement. Gay rights are human rights. Here am simply confining my statement in the context of human rights and social justice paradigm and avoiding the controversies that exist in our constitutions and various legislation," said Mutunga. “We have succeeded in demanding our rights of movement and association although we cannot take them for granted. We should see less of the workshopping in hotels, less of flip charts and tooth picks as we move to the country sides and make sure our people own and protect the human rights and social justice messages,” Mutunga said.

Mutunga called for a need to bring together the opposing views on the marginalisation of the gay rights movement to a final and conclusive debate.

As far as Human Rights principles that we work on don’t allow us to implement human rights selectively. We need clarity on this issue within the human rights movement if we are to face the challenges that are spearheaded by powerful political and religious forces in our midst. "I find the arguments made by some of our human rights activists, the so called moral arguments, simply rationalization for using human rights principles opportunistically and selectively. We need to bring together the opposing view point in the movement on this issue for final and conclusive debate,” said the CJ.

Mutunga took his first visit to Uganda as the new Chief Justice to discuss the debate on gays rights in a country where MPs have tried to pass laws that criminalises gay unions.

A renown gay rights activist David Kato was beaten to death with a hammer in his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. Police were quick to say the motive was robbery, but members of the small and increasingly besieged gay community in Uganda suspected otherwise. The motion in Uganda parliament was pushed by religious groups and some civil societies who wanted all gays executed.

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