The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Pope's Envoy Champions Gays and Lebians Rights

The pope's representative to Kenya Charles Daniel Balvo has asked Kenyans to accord homosexuals respect, dignity and human rights and not discriminate against them.

Speaking after commissioning a Sh400 million pastoral centre at the Embu Catholic Cathedral in Embu town, Balvo said the Catholic Church does not approve of homosexuality but it recognises the dignity of every individual.

"The homosexuals should be defended against violation of their dignity and human rights, they are human beings like anyone of us," he said.

Balvo who was accompanied by Embu Catholic Diocese Bishop Paul Kariuki also issued the congregation with a statute of Divine Mary and a cross to mark the year of faith for Catholics.

His remarks came in the wake of a call by the Amnesty International to the US President Barack Obama to use his ongoing trip to Africa to speak against threats to gays and lesbians which are reported to have reached alarming levels in Africa.

The human rights group last Tuesday released a report which cautioned that governments across the African continent were issuing tough penalties against homosexuals.

The US president has in the past openly championed against violation of gay rights abroad and instructed US diplomats and rights workers to pursue the agenda in the countries where they serve.

The Amnesty International's report reveals that negative attitudes and attacks on gays are in some cases fanned by key politicians and religious leaders.

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