Those attempting to cancel AHRC are hurting all LGBTQI+ refugees in Kenya.
Unfortunately, if we are to work in Kenya with what the Kenyan government considers an 'undesirable' 'criminal' populace, at the very least we must obey their laws and maintain self-security. That does not mean we are not engaged in dialogue and advocacy for change!
The world comprises of over 100 million people in forced displacement. The current crisis in Ethiopia, Ukraine, and now the massive displacement disaster caused by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria make this humanitarian crisis so much worse. Every refugee in the world is suffering more. There are food shortages, globally and funding is stretched.
African LGBTQI+ refugees are among the most marginalized of minorities and refugees in the world. Refugee camps are generally unsafe environments for LGBTQI+ people. There are very few solutions at this time.
However solutions are being sought. UNHCR is engaged with local authority in providing the best possible protection protocols, in context of the extraordinary complexity where LGBTI are criminalized and yet allowed in the country to seek protection and possible resettlement. The balance between asserting rights and needs versus the environment and best interests of the larger group, is an enormous challenge. At the core, is self-security. While advocates such as AHRC continue to labor and pursue solutions for the myriad of challenges, it is incumbent on LGBTQI+ refugees to do all in their own power to stay safe in the most oppressive of environments in the world. It is also incumbent on such refugees to foster the very few venues and platforms available for protection and possible resettlement, albeit limited, rather than to behave in a way that will shut down the venues as has occurred in the past!
At this time we are aware of approximately 500 LGBTI refugees in Kakuma camp out of the 200,000+ refugees. It is also believed that despite the extraordinary challenges approximately 1000 LGBTQ+ refugees are residing in urban areas.
It is impossible to evacuate Kakuma LGBTQI+ refugees from the camp, for several reasons, which include, inter alia: 1. Kenya has an encampment law which forces ALL refugees to being the camp, based on terrorism issues in the country;
2. There is no funding to support LGBTQI+ refugees in urban Kenya and foreigners, especially LGBTQI+ foreigners are often exposed as gay in the context of criminalization when attempting livelihood urban projects;
3. Shelter, Medical resources and food rations are only available for all refugees in the camp setting, but not in the urban areas, thereby making unsupported and especially undocumented LGBTQI+ refugees unable to survive in urban areas without at least $285.00 per month per person. To support every LGBTQI+ refugee in Kenya would be at a cost of $500,000 per month! No one has that kind of funding.
ALSO - There has been known fraud where some claiming refugee/ or LGBTQI+ identity are smuggled into the camp with the promise of resettlement abroad, requiring extreme vetting which takes many years. AHRC endorses this statement by UNHCR: "We also reiterate that all refugees in Kakuma, including those with LGBTIQ+ profiles, have equal access to medical and psychosocial support as a fundamental component of the protection and support provided to refugees in Kenya. There are six hospitals and clinics in Kakuma, where almost 250,000 refugees and asylum-seekers live where they can receive medical care." We add to this - that where we have advocated for an exceptional situation that cannot be treated in the camp for reasons of availability, UNHCR has helped transport the impacted LGBTQI+ individuals to external medical facilities for attention, swiftly without hesitation. In this context, while we continue to fight for LGBTQI+ rights and pipelines...... there has been a predictable attempt to cancel AHRC work - as opportunists seek to raise funds mostly used nefariously and to fund that which is against the law- and also seek to illegally circumvent the laws that, granted, most unfortunately, are in place in Kenya.
Any LGBTQI+ person who breaks the law in THE ONLY East African country that hosts LGBTQI+- with a venue for protection and possible resettlement (BECAUSE they have NOWHERE else to go) is risking seriously adverse consequence.
Firstly, Kenya criminalizes LGBTQI+ sexuality and gender identity. Secondly, Kenya now has a new refugee law that says if your behavior goes against public morals, you can be expelled from the country. (Over 90% of Kenyans believe LGBTQI are an abomination, satanic and criminals, and hence morally deficient.)
Predictable Attempts to Cancel AHRC Anyone who publicly misconstrues and denigrates the work of AHRC is clearly making admissions that they are partaking in attempts at cancelling our work. These parties, who are adept at Trump era construction and amplification of lies are showing their faces with admissions that place them squarely in the headlights of all that which is designed to cancel authentic and legitimate work. Unfortunately if we are to work in Kenya with what the government considers an undesirable populace, at the very least we must obey their laws. That does not mean we are not engaged in dialogue and advocacy for change!
Let us remind of the work AHRC is doing, on the frontlines, and a target for those who would rather we disappeared as our good work flies in the face of the lies designed to raise money based on : Regardless of the attempts to CANCEL the work of AHRC, by those who are opportunistically using refugees for their personal gain in and outside of Kenya, the work of AHRC, which has been for over 15 years, continues to be:
1. To advocate for long term durable solutions for LGBTQI+ refugees - to enhance pipelines and pathways for authentic LGBTQI+ refugees;
2. To provide individual ad hoc case advocacy for hundreds of forcibly displaced LGBTQI+ people at all phases of the displacement cycle to include countries - Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea-Conakry, Togo, Senegal, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Ghana, Namibia;
3. To provide resources and referrals for LGBTQI+ people at all phases of the forced displacement cycle;
4. Manage and implement food programs in refugee camps for LGBTQI+ refugees;
5. combat homophobia though various channels, including dialogue, media, legal services, Pride participation, and speaking engagements;
6. In the United States and Global Courts, to provide country conditions affidavits and testimony as expert witness on behalf of gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, non-binary, queer, intersex, allies, human rights defenders and all perceived as such who are persecuted and forced to flee their countries. To date AHRC's Melanie Nathan has appeared and won over 55 such cases in the U.S. and global courts, winning asylum for LGBTQI+ people from 20 different African countries;
7. To stand for LGBTQI+, immigrant, refugee and asylum seeker rights by forming coalitions with aligned partners and associates;
8. To thwart opportunism, lies and myth, by standing for the truth, and all that fosters the ongoing, albeit very limited platforms currently available to LGBTQI+ people from African countries. African Human Rights Coalition