Civil society groups in Kenya have started collecting signatures in a new campaign to promote sexual freedom. The campaign targets one million signatures and the support of MPs.
Although it mainly focuses on family planning and reproductive health, the "I Decide" campaign might run into trouble in Kenya because it also wants anti-homosexuality laws repealed. It is also asking the government to provide safe and legal abortion to women.
"We want a world in which sexuality is recognised both as a natural and precious aspect of life," said Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), who are coordinating the campaign locally.
FHOK director Edward Marienga said asked politicians to support people's "rights to decide what happens to their bodies, who they live with and whether or not they become pregnant." The Kenyan campaign was launched in Nairobi yesterday by Moi University Chancellor Prof Miriam Were.
"Sustainable development and gender equality will be achieved when everyone has access to sexual and reproductive health, the right to bodily integrity, and control over all matters related to their sexuality," she said. Prof Were further asked the government to expand family planning. "For every $1 invested in family planning $31 in additional public service and health expenditure is saved," she said.
Organisers want the UN to include sexual and reproductive health and rights among the new global targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals next year. The one million signatures will be presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon mid next year.
Giant pro-abortion lobby International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) is coordinating similar campaigns in other countries across the world. Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said in a statement he supports the campaign. "The Ministry of Health in Kenya is willing to prioritise sexual reproductive health in support of what FHOK in partnership with IPPF are doing," he said.
The campaign is also petitioning the government to end violence against women and forced marriage. FHOK said in a statement the government should not decided for people what to do with their own bodies, who to love and how. "Shockingly many women and men around the world are denied these basic rights by governments and by tradition," it said. The campaign hopes to have these rights guaranteed across the world by 2020.