Chief Justice Willy Mutunga

A remarkable video has surfaced that shows Kenya’s Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court Willy Mutunga declaring that “gay rights are human rights”.

Box Turtle Bulletin reported on the video on Wednesday, although the clip was shot in September last year at an event in Kampala for FIDA, a Ugandan organisation of Women Lawyers.

In his speech, Mutunga said that a “frontier of marginalisation is the gay rights movement,” adding that “Gay rights are human rights”.

Homosexuality is illegal in his country, with penalties including imprisonment.

Mutunga went on to say: “Here I’m simply confining my statement to the context of human rights and social justice paradigm, and avoiding the controversy that exists in our constitutions and various legislation. As far as I know, human rights principles that we work on, do not allow us to implement human rights selectively.

“We need clarity on this issue within the human rights movement in East Africa, 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 rationalisations for using human rights principles opportunistically and selectively.”

Mutunga’s statement is of great significance in a region which is dominated by anti-gay sentiment and the criminalisation of homosexuality.

Interestingly, one of the women in the audience was Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of Parliament in Uganda. The Ugandan parliament may yet vote on that country’s dreaded Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Mutunga is not the only high profile African to have recently spoken out on LGBT equality while in Uganda.

Last month, South Africa’s former president, Thabo Mbeki, criticised the Anti-Homosexuality Bill at a discussion in Kampala.

Watch the clip of Mutunga’s comments below.

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