There are millions of migrants and refugees around the world. Displacement of human beings is at an all time high.The most marginalized among all refugees are LGBTI refugees seeking safety and a resettlement process in countries which continue the persecution they had escaped from. LGBTI people are fleeing homophobic violence and the criminalization of their sexuality, only to cross over into host countries that instead of providing safety and security, in essence continue to harbor the very harm they fled. A small number are able to obtain virtually impossible VISAS to fly abroad and once overseas they seek asylum. However for the vast majority of LGBTI people seeking exile, the continent of Africa is dire and there are no other choices.
Many Ugandans fled the upsurge in homophobic hate, which peaked and continued around 2014 when President Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act, previously known as the Kill the Gays Bill. Even though the Bill was voided by the Courts the abuse and violence against gay people persists. Many have gone through several years of extreme vetting and been resettled in the United Sates, Australia, Canada and Iceland. However many remain stuck in Kakuma Camp and Nairobi, Kenya, where the hardship they are suffering is indescribable.
The conditions are unsanitary, dangerous and attacks as well as the threat of attack by local Turkana people and Sudanese refugees is a constant, as homosexuality continues to be seen as an abomination and a curse on the Camp. The police are ineffective and just like in their home countries, LGBTI people experience extortion and abuse at the hands of police. The LGBTI community feels let down by UNHCR. Unfortunately UNHCR faces many challenges including the lack of funds, an uphill battle against the homophobia of the host country and heterosexual refugees, and because of their dependency on Governments such as the United States, cannot guarantee resettlement to everyone.
Indeed since the Trump administration took over and reduced its refugee numbers, hindered some travel with Executive Orders and in general created an adverse atmosphere for LGBTQI people, things seem to have worsened.
The wait is excruciating – as one lesbian refugee who made it to Oakland, California told me: “I lost my soul in Kakuma.”
One of the greatest frustrations felt by refugees in Kenya is the unproductive often 6 month to one year long waits between appointments, without any updates or advisories as to the status of their cases. They feel ignored. The believe that not only is UNHCR failing their basic needs, but also that they are not provided the protections UNHCR’s international mandate demands.
Below are organic and unfiltered communications from refugees directly to me in my capacity as an advocate and director of African Human Rights Coalition. I have removed names and identifying information. I am providing a few examples of very many that contain the same tone of suffering and, fear and frustration:
I want you to help me by reminding UNHCR that am also a refugee especially amongst the most vulnerable person, gay. They have forgotten me as if I don’t get exist.
The office has always told me to wait bt nothing good which comes from their promise. what they do is sending me to the community where the host community n my fellow refugees hate me to the extend given a chance they can kill me with no hesitation . As write this email to you am in fear that the top brass of the reception centre a planning to force me out of the reception n am very sick especially my foot. I can’t walk upright. The UNHCR hospital has no antibiotics, only give out painkillers.
It’s so pet that even the vulnerable are ignored, not saying that am above the other refugees.
I am once again appealing to you on my health concern,am suffering from epididymorchitis complication which has been consuming me for 6 months, have met several kenyan doctors at irc ,dr.______,dr.______,dr._______, all have tried their best to assist me in any way possible but the medication is not available am only receiving pain killers now since all doctors nolonger want to see me because they know the problem, they prescribe for me drugs but its not available in the irc pharmacy, I went to the matron clinic who connected me to a specialist dr.who reffered me to kakuma mission hospital for a testacular ultrasound however,the ultrasound was not done because the ultrasound machine lack some parts therefore they could not serve as indicated in the refferal form,today I went back in alot of pain to the matron and discuss away forward at clinic. she again connected me to another senior medic from Nairobi who examined my testis and also confirmed epididymorchitis disease on my left testacle,he wrote pain killers and confirmed to me that the complication requires strong drugs that is not available in the pharmacy ,am in alot of agony ,my ankles are paining I cant walk,I move on clutches,I cant bend the back is paining me somuch,am astmatic,am sandwiched by alot of complications ,I cant do any thing for my self,cant cook I spend days without food,without bathing ,my house is dirty am now prone to other hygienic diseases.I once again appeal to unhcr to take a deep look into my case,I humbly beg.
Yestarday on 25/11/18 at 2:05am I was attacked by the person I could not recognise as I moved outside my house to ease my self. I was cut on face,back, arm,head and shoulders as the attachments shows, I screamed for help and my community members came to rescue me,our leader came and I explained to him what had happened,we went and reported to the police at Kakuma and they referred us to the hospital at 3am in the morning and the ambulance took me with alot of bleeding ,I didn’t get any first aid treatment from the hospital and they never dressed my wounds.In the morning still at 8am,I went to central police in Kakuma town to get the p3forms and fill them and I also report again, the police asked money from me in order to get the p3forms when I told them I don’t have money,they chased me a way saying that am forging,that am the one who cut my self. They promised to arrest me and put me in cells forging if I appear again at the police. Right now am a lot painI will be grateful if I get any form of help from your office
There is a lack of funding for many needs to include transport, food beyond the one sorghum meal per day ration, juices, medications, and more:
TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS CAN BE MADE at African Human Rights Coalition,
Social Good Find Inc: HERE.
All Donations received between November 27th – December 31, will be divided as to: Refugee Needs to and in Kakuma 40%, including Xmas Dinner, The fence 10% – (see video below,) Safe Shelter Uganda 20%, Advocacy Expenses 25%, administration to Social Good Fund 5%
PLEASE DIRECT ANY QUESTIONS TO MELANIE NATHAN- nathan@AfricanHRC.org
To get a sense of the conditions – here is a new Video recently uploaded where refugees are asking to help mend a protection fence and speaking to some general problems.