Ugandan LGBTI asylum seekers are being stoned and poisoned in the world’s third largest refugee camp.
That’s the revelation in a new video about life in Kakuma camp in northern Kenya.
It has seen an influx of refugees fleeing Ugandan LGBTI hate and anti-gay legislation.
But life in the camp is often dangerous.
Jaw Desman fled his home after being exposed in the Ugandan press as a homosexual and having neighbors ‘storm’ his home.
But he found anti-gay hate in Kakuma camp too: ‘They say homosexuality is against god. They are staunch Muslims. So whenever they see you they point at you, they spit, they throw stones.
‘We had gone out to play netball and Somalis came around and started throwing stones and one of our members was hit on the head and taken to hospital. He almost lost his life.’
Another Ugandan gay refugee, William Ssemakula, said life in the camp was ‘hell’.
‘I have seen someone die because of being a gay. He was poisoned and he died. So I have [thought] I shouldn’t show myself at this and this because I want my life,’ he said.
Lesbian Ugandan Emmax Nagajja reported attacks in the camp but said: ‘When we are attacked for being LGBTI the police don’t want to work on [the case].’
An anonymous person interviewed for the video said: ‘The ones who lived in these tents, Congolese, they came and told us: “You Ugandans, who are gays here, we are going to drink your blood”.
‘If you tried to complain to the security people, it is like you have done nothing [shouldn’t have bothered] because the security men are also Congolese.’
Like all the refugees in Kakuma, including other vulnerable groups, they also face poor hygiene and limited access to food, clothing and good shelter.
The asylum seekers were interviewed in makeshift huts and tents, which they say harbor scorpions and snakes, and where they sleep on brick beds.
Refugee Desman added: ‘You need to have money to access so many things – food, clothes and basic needs. So we do sex work. You go out there, you look for clients, they give you money and then you can sustain yourself.’
Such is their poverty it is hard for them to afford the 70 Kenyan shillings ($0.01 â‚¬0.01) it costs to buy a condom.
The video is the first time LGBTI refugees in Kakuma have been filmed about their plight although GSN has covered attacks and a suspected poisoning murder in the camp in the past.
The film was made by a coalition of African LGBTI groups, uniting people from Kenya and Uganda.
Pepe Julian Onziema of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) said the UNHCR authorities running the camp were trying but struggling to deal with the situation.
He said: ‘What they never anticipated the number of LGBT Ugandans or just LGBT in the region. The presence of the Ugandans encouraged others [in the camp] to come out.’
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