Relocate to safety LGBTQ+ Refugees from Block 13, Kakuma Camp, Kenya

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In the early hours of March 15, two ‘houses’ occupied by LGBTQ+ human rights defenders were torched in Kakuma Camp Block 13, leaving Ayesigye Jordan and Atuhwera Chriton with 2nd-degree burns. The police and medical personnel have been slow to respond to the emergency calls. Jordan and Trinidad need to be airlifted immediately to a hospital in Nairobi to get medical attention. 

This incident is the latest in a long list of vicious attacks against LGBTQ+ refugees at Kakuma Block 13. The first fire attack occurred on February 15th 2021, which saw 4 gay men set ablaze by other migrants. LGBTQ+ refugees are unsafe and experience different forms of physical and sexual violence on a daily basis; from beatings and torching to slashing and rape. The slow response by the police and other authorities normalises and perpetuates the violence, vulnerabilities, and indignity experienced by LGBTQ+ refugees. 

Despite years of urging by organisations to act and protect LGBTQ+ refugees at the Kakuma camp, the UNHCR has shown little political will and commitment to intervene. This is in direct violation of UNHCR’s mandate to “aid and protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people, and to assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.”

The Coalition of African Lesbians, JASS Southern Africa and the Triangle Project, stand with LGBTQ+ survivors in their demands for the following:

  1. The UNHCR must airlift the two severely burned victims from last night’s homophobic attack on Block 13 to Nairobi for treatment today, Monday, March 15th. 
  2. The UNHCR must transfer the entire LGBTQ+ Block 13 Group at risk to the transit center today, Monday, March 15th, and immediately provide them with highly accountable 24/7 security as urgent evacuation plans are being put in place.
  3. The UNHCR must evacuate the LGBTQ+ Block 13 Group at risk from Kakuma to Nairobi by Thursday, March 18th, and expedite their resettlement as they are survivors of intensive and unending homophobic attacks.
  4. The Kenyan government and all its institutions have a duty to protect everyone within their borders regardless of their citizenship status. Protecting refugees is the primary responsibility of the State.
  5. We call on all our allies and partners, human rights organisations and defenders to share this statement / issue yours and stand in unequivocal solidarity with the community in Block 13.

UNHCR must act now and provide emergency support to injured LGBTQ+ refugees at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya

For further information, please contact:


Phumi Mtetwa

Regional Director

JASS Southern Africa

southernafrica@justassociates.org

www.justassociates.org

 

Gathoni Blessol

Director of Programmes

Coalition of African Lesbians

info@cal.org.za

www.cal.org.za 

 

Elsbeth Engelbrecht

Triangle Project

elsbeth@triangle.org.za

www.triangle.org.za



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