Important Advisory for LGBTI Refugees at Kakuma Reception Center and Gate

AFRICAN HRC is comprised of ALL volunteers who are LGBTQI. We are a committed and trusted resource working for the betterment of LGBTQI communities, realizing that in the world of migrants and refugees options are very few, process is very slow, people are extremely vulnerable, often being taken advantage of, even by our own community. This is not to invoke mistrust, but rather to inform you that we are aware of frauds and instigators who cause harm to your situation and for that reason you are advised to FULLY and independently consider what is best for your own personal circumstances.

We advise refugees and asylum seekers and all P.O.C. to fully co-operate and comply with the directives being given by the UNHCR Reception Center Staff at Kakuma Camp and Gate regarding integration into the Kakuma community. Kenya has an encampment policy. It is Kenyan Law that ALL refugees, unless otherwise documented, MUST be in CAMP!

LGBTI refugees must understand that there is no other country in East Africa where the government is willing to register LGBTI as a valid social group worthy of being a refugee. This makes KENYA a very delicate situation. Although Kenya also criminalizes LGBTI people, it is still willing to register LGBTI through RAS.

BUT if there are problems seen as if caused by refugees , we could lose this as an option for resettlement and there will be nowhere for LGBTI to go.

That is why we are asking ALL REFUGEES, to STOP interfering, instigating, intimidating, misleading and/or threatening any fellow refugee. This interference in other people's process has the potential to directly impact the entire refugee process and shut it down. It is up to each of you to walk away from threats by fellow refugees and to report any such threats to CaseAHRC@gmail.com, where your name will be kept anonymous and confidential. We also encourage refugees to report fraud and/or corruptive or dangerous or behavior to this same email address. Each person is advised to take their direction from UNHCR staff, who have your best interests at heart, given there are no other choices in the furthering of your asylum process. PLEASE NOTE: that even if you are harmed or threatened or have security incidents your process will NOT move along quicker. PLEASE NOTE: Any staged or provoked attacks will hinder your process.

You can express to the Reception Center staff your concerns in your settlement interview regarding being settled into the Kakuma community, but you should not resist their advisory and options.

Please know that complying with the process is beneficial to your overall experience at Kakuma and this is being closely monitored.

We are aware that there are instigators suggesting non-compliance and non-cooperation . This is not helpful to you or other LGBTI.

We have been informed by UNHCR that the refusal to move into community creates a dead-end and clogs up the reception center - as there is absolutely nowhere else to go, and this refusal is having a negative impact on the whole process for LGBTI refugees. We are exploring long term and creative options for LGBTI, as stated in previous advisories.

In the meantime, with little to no options available we expect and /or advise the following from LGBTI refugees: 1. Full compliance with UNHCR advisory and individual case placements in Camp 2. It is unsafe to protest at this time and causes further harm and seems to have a backlash impact that hurts all refugees not helps 3. All of those at gate have access to protection desk where you can ask for help and direction to move out of your unsafe situation at the gate - but you must listen to their direction

4. All those who are settled in camp have access to food and water

5. All refugees at reception/ gate will receive a text next week from UNHCR providing them with appointments for assessment - please ensure UNHCR has your updated contact information

6. We advise transgender and all refugees to consider their mode of dress when going to collect food, water, or into Turkana Kakuma Village. We have noticed from video evidence that most attacks that have occurred seem to be when people dress in a way that may be difficult for other refugees to understand

For those who do not feel safe in going into Kakuma we advise you to address your concerns with UNHCR staff, politely, and after you are reassured we URGE you to follow the advice and not resist, as there are no other choices.

NOTE: If you have any security related issue or actual incidents of insecurity, you should email UNCHR Help line at helpline.kenya@unhcr.org and copy us at CaseAHRC@gmail.com on the email so that we are informed and can track the email and subsequent response.

We advise that there are LGBTI individuals who are keeping a low profile in the camp and properly settled in and seem to be doing relatively well at this time . As a refugee you are a guest in hostile Turkana land where LGBTI people are criminalized. UNHCR is unable to protect you from the hosts and Kenyan police are overwhelmed with cases in Kakuma. This is not a safe place to be instigating or making demands. LGBTI refugees should be aware that if you get into fights - even in self defense- and are arrested your ultimate resettlement could be hurt and you may not get resettled. That is why it is better to be quiet within the camp and not create protests or visibility.

African HRC would like to partner with any refugee who is settled in the camp and bot subject to hostility for educational and economic development - however we will only take applications fo such funding from those who have been settled in the camp for at least 2 months. That application process will open on April 15, 2020 - and you must prove you have been settled in the camp for at least 2 months to apply. Any fraudulent or corruptive or non-compliant behavior will immediately disqualify applicants.

NOTE: If you have any security related issue or actual incidents of insecurity, you should email UNCHR Help line at helpline.kenya@unhcr.org and copy us at CaseAHRC@gmail.com on the email so that we are informed and can track the email and subsequent response. Please note that this advisory and directive has been approached with the utmost good faith and based on years of experience and up to date information contemplated in the best interests of LGBTI refugees in Kenya under the current difficult circumstances. We continue to advocate for the opening of refugee pipelines and better solutions worldwide.

Melanie Nathan Executive Director African Human Rights Coalition

Marc Cohen

Director of Humanitarian Programs

African Human Rights Coalition

© 2015 African Human Rights Coalition

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