The UN has transferred LGBTI refugees to a safe house in Nairobi after they experienced violence from fellow refugees.
About 30 LGBTI refugees received injuries in a vicious attack after trying to rally for improved conditions at Kakuma Refugee Camp.
Locals and fellow refugees assaulted the LGBTI refugees outside the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) office. The sexual minorities refugees were protesting about the rise in homophobic attacks they experienced.
The United Nations announced they would transfer some of the refugees to the capital yesterday (Thursday 13 December).
Kakuma is one of the biggest refugee camps in Kenya. It is in the northwestern Turkana county, nearly 15 hours driving away from Nairobi.
Nairobi will be their permanent home
‘While UNHCR has undertaken great effort, together with the Kenyan government and partners, the Kakuma context does not provide a safe environment for LGBTI refugees and asylum-seekers,’ a UNHCR spokeswoman told Reuters.
‘UNHCR believes that the LGBTI refugees who were involved in this incident would be better protected outside Kakuma. The necessary measures have been taken to facilitate their removal.’
She also confirmed about 20 of 170 LGBTI refugees in Kakuma already moved to safe houses. Another 150 at-risk refugees will move by month’s end, in what will be a permanent relocation.
LGBTI refugees say they need speedy resettlement in a third country where they can be free and safe. However, UNHCR officials say this can take years as most nations don’t consider sexual minorities as a priority for asylum requests.
The first Pride in a refugee camp
The LGBTI refugees in Kakuma became known across the world for the throwing the first Pride parade and festival within a refugee camp. Nonetheless, both festivities made them targets for homophobic and transphobic attacks.
The camp was also planning to host a Christmas lunch for the LGBTI refugees, but it unclear if it is safe for the event to go ahead.