LGBT+ refugees moved to safe houses after camp attacks
LGBT+ refugees in Kenya’s remote Kakuma camp were being moved to safe houses in Nairobi after they were attacked when protesting for greater protection, the UN said.
The refugees said they were assaulted by locals and fellow refugees outside the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) while protesting about rising homophobic attacks in recent months. Their shelters were set alight. The latest attack happened on Tuesday in sprawling Kakuma camp in Kenya’s north-western Turkana county, home to at least 180 000 refugees from more than 10 countries.
The refugees said they were beaten with sticks and iron bars and about 20 people were injured. Pictures and videos showed them in torn, bloodied clothing with swollen faces and bandaged limbs. A UNHCR spokesperson said about 20 of 170 LGBT+ refugees in Kakuma were being shifted to safe houses in the capital on Thursday, and another 150 at-risk refugees would be moved by the end of the month.
Refugees in the camp said they did not feel protected by the police and homophobic violence had been on the rise since they held a gay pride event in June.
Although gay sex is punishable with up to 14 years in jail in Kenya, the law is rarely enforced and the country is seen as more tolerant than neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania.
There are more than 750 LGBT+ refugees registered in Kenya with the UNHCR, mostly from Uganda, but also from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Burundi, South Sudan and Somalia. |