It is Xmas day. Two nights ago, while asleep for the first time in their new shelters at Kakuma in Kenya, LGBTI refugees were attacked and robbed. They were told to flee or they would be killed. Some ran for the bushes with 2 still missing and approximately 47 others risked camping outside the Reception Center in the hope that they may finally receive some real protection and security. Two refugees were arrested while allegedly trying to obtain water in an non-permitted zone. At the time of writing this, and after several requests for urgent attention during holiday time, other than receiving food as orchestrated by Marc Cohen of African Human Rights Coalition (African HRC), we have yet to see any help or protection. The situation is dire and the refugees remain in grave danger. We are now also hearing of more refugees within the camp who may have to escape their shelters under fear of pending attacks.
For as long as the Kenyan government demands that ALL refugees reside in camp, and refuse travel permits within the country, and for as long as gay, lesbian, bi and trans refugees are attacked by local host communities including Turkana in Kakuma, as well as the Sudanese/ Somali heterosexual refugee community, and for as long as they cannot return to home countries because they have run for their lives, LGBTQI asylum seekers are caught between a rock and a hard place. They cannot move freely, they are subject to arrest when they try to seek safety or report violence, they cannot develop self-reliance programs like the refugees due to continued ostracization and exposure and so they are stuck facing sticks and humiliation.
African HRC will be calling for an investigation into why UNHCR staff placed LGBTI refugees in such a dangerous area. The details and words of refugees are available at - OblogdeeOblogda, Advocacy Blog of Melanie Nathan - READ MORE