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UNHCR Concern for LGBTI Refugee Crisis in Kenya

June 15, 2019

This is by no means an exhaustive report on the current crisis for LGBTQI refugees in Kenya. You may contact us for more details as we have written reports available for qualified organizations and third parties to include journalists. Here is an advisory issued by UNHCR which gives their concerned voice to the current desperate situation for LGBT refugees in Kenya. At African HRC we continue to be involved as an intermediary in these situations:

 

Dear colleagues,

 

The following is a brief update on the current situation in Nairobi as of today, 15 June:

 

UNHCR remains deeply concerned about the situation that arose around the 76 refugees with an LGBTI profile currently remaining in one house in the XXXXX area outside of Nairobi. We have been working throughout the day directly with the refugees, the Kenyan Government, our partners and other stakeholders including the Kenya Red Cross Society and will continue to do so to find a peaceful solution.

 

Following a series of discussions with the authorities and UNHCR, it was decided that the refugees remain at the house under police protection until the next steps will be determined by senior Government officials on Monday. In the meantime, food, water and blankets are being provided.

 

We remain concerned by the health situation of some individuals among the group. The police assured that any person with serious medical condition will be taken to a hospital without delay. We are also expecting the Kenya Red Cross Society to attend the house again tomorrow (Sunday) morning to assess the situation and to provide any required treatment. The majority of the refugees in this group are also receiving monthly financial assistance in line with support provided to other refugees with specific needs in Nairobi.

 

We fully understand the challenges refugees and asylum-seekers, especially with an LGBTI profile, are facing in Kenya and we continue to work with the Government to address the policy, legal and documentation issues that represent obstacles to our persons of concern. UNHCR has been consistent in its insistence that refugees and asylum-seekers who do not reside in the designated refugee camps in Kenya make every effort to maintain a low profile by avoiding being in large groups and abiding by local laws to prevent conflict situations as those that have recently unfolded.

 

We appreciate the financial support of private individuals and organizations that supplement the financial assistance provided by UNHCR. We appreciate, just as much, that many of you are helping us in passing on the above messages and advice. We trust that you will continue to do so.

 

We will continue to keep you informed on the unfolding situation.

 

Thank you.

XXXXX indicates redaction

 

Melanie Nathan in capacity as Executive Director of African HRC:

 

"At this time the Kenyan government is continuing to insist on the eviction of large groups from housing and together with UNHCR we urge refugees to use their stipends to seek accommodations in smaller groups, as directed by UNHCR.

 

We understand that the protection in smaller units is not optimum, yet are assured that the smaller the group and the lower the profile the better the chances for safety for individual refugees. That said no refugee should have to live in a way that involves hiding in a country of refuge, the host country. They ought to be safe regardless of WHO they are!

Yet LGBTQI people must hide, because even their host country, in effect a hostile host, continues to criminalize their sexuality.

 

With funding we can help mitigate the safety related issues. At this time we are stretched with no funding and the ability to provide added financial aid, is minimal. The milieu for LGBTI refugees is terribly damaged by the Donald Trump Refugee and Border Policy which reduced the number of refugees to the United States. The U.S.A. is contributing to the failed care for LGBTQI refugees with its slower process, inadequate policies and resources to keep the pipeline smooth and operational. We must open the pipeline and get LGBTI people to safer countries.

 

African HRC is urging ALL refugees in Kenya's urban areas to leave large groups for smaller groups and to maintain low profiles. That is the best we can all do now given the current state of evictions of large groups in Kenya. Tp resist will mean arrest and will be harmful to the refugee's resettlement process."

 

JOIN THE FIGHT!  If you would like to be active in helping we need cash donations, volunteers, and qualified board members who can fundraise: Please write to - nathan@AfricanHRC.org and donate at www.AfricanHRC.org/donate

DONATE to Refugee Safe Shelter HERE.

 

READ MORE AT LONGREADS "CAUGHT BETWEEN BORDERS": https://longreads.com/2019/06/11/caught-between-borders/ 

 

 

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