Allegations that UNHCR refusing water to attacked LGBTI Refugees at Kakuma Gate

African Human Rights Coalition is requesting Urgent Assistance and Investigations :

Welcoming 2020 we see no help in sight? For the past 9 days, with thanks to the generosity of a volunteer and board member of African Human Rights Coalition (African HRC) food, water, juices and medicine have been provided to approximately 50 LGBTQI refugees stuck without protection and resources at at the UNHCR gates of Kakuma Reception Center.

For 9 days they have been ignored and remain without any assistance at all from UNHCR and local authorities. If the report I am posting below from the refugees proves to be correct, it would seem that not only has UNHCR failed to provide resources and protection since the attack by straight Sudanese refugees that sent them running to the gates, but that the belief that UNHCR staffers at the Center actually knowingly sent them into danger may well be true, highlighted now by the allegation that UNHCR has ordered the refugees at the gate be denied water.

I know from sources that last week, after I wrote the article explaining the refugee plight, high ranking officials at UNHCR  in Geneva had read the article.  In addition African HRC has written to UNHCR requesting help for the refugees with no response to date. We are hopeful that one official who is not based or responsible for Kakuma will help by also forwarding the information about those who are ill to Kakuma officials forthwith.  However we still await help!

The Article which I wrote a week ago – just before Xmas- Kenya proves it can no longer Host LGBTI Refugees due to Escalating Violence, notes:

XMAS DAY:- ‘Two nights ago, while asleep for the first time in their new shelters at Kakuma in Kenya, LGBTI refugees were attacked and robbed. They were told to flee or they would be killed.  Some ran for the bushes with 2 still missing and approximately 47 others risked camping outside the Reception Center in the hope that they may finally receive some real protection and security. Two refugees were arrested while allegedly trying to obtain water in an non-permitted zone. At the time of writing this, and after several requests for urgent attention during holiday time, other than receiving food as orchestrated by Marc Cohen of African Human Rights Coalition (African HRC), we have yet to see any help or protection. The situation is dire and the refugees remain in grave danger.  We are now also hearing of more refugees within the camp who may have to escape their shelters under fear of pending attacks.”

The Article then went on to express in the words of the refugees themselves dismay and suspicion that they may have been purposely sent into a homophobic danger zone.

As there has still be no response from UNHCR and an allegation of denial of water, I am posting below the direct words of one of the refugees expressed through an e-mail to us, in the hope that UNHCR will answer to this, correct any misunderstandings and actually provide water and other urgent resources such as shelter, food and medicine. African HRC has no funding to continue this humanitarian relief:

“I have written this email to inform you about our plight camping outside the reception center after being attacked by the hostile Sudanese during late night and our houses being rooted plus all our stuff in the community that we were given by UNHCR KENYA and NCCK on 21st December 2019.

We have so far spent 9 days sleeping in a cold and up to now we haven’t got any call from UNHCR apart from being denied resources by G4S who say that they are working on the orders of UNHCR KENYA.

We have always been getting some water from the reception and our colleagues inside have been bringing it to us without any resistance from the G4S officials.

Today 1st 2020,  some G4S officials have warned us not to risk sending someone to get us  water otherwise he/she will face it rough. They further said that they have received new orders from UNHCR and they have been told not to allow any person to bring us water from the reception. My question of worry is, how are we going to survive without water dear😥?

So we call upon UNHCR KENYA to change this statement as soon as possible in order to save the lives of I and my fellow vulnerable refugees sleeping in a cold outside the reception center.”

Also…… “yesterday 31st of December 2019, an attack was made on some of our colleagues in the nearest trading center since they had gone to buy some refreshments to make them pass through the old year and get into the new year. They were attacked and one of them (….) was beaten up terribly and imprisoned for being homosexual.

He says he was beaten up by both the community and the police officers as well because of being a gay. Currently speaking I went to the police and I had to pay some money for the release of our colleague but his condition wasn’t good at all. Up to now, this young man is still undergoing much pain due to the mob Justice he was passed through yesterday 😥.

In addition Malaria is proving to be a great danger for those sleeping outside the Refugee Reception Center Gates as can be seen from below pictures where pools of muddy still water near the gates attract mosquitos. We are advised that refugees have had their mosquito nets stolen and those who have contracted malaria are self medicating with medications we have paid for.

Reiterating that Kenya is a hostile host for LGBTQI refugees and that the international LGBTQI community needs to step up to the plate as reflected in my Article, ” Kenya proves it can no longer Host LGBTI Refugees due to Escalating Violence,” I again am imploring on UNHCR to take immediate action pending longer term solutions to URGENTLY protect, shelter and feed those LGBTQI refugees at the Kakuma Gate Reception Center, as well as answer to whether or not it is true that LGBTQI refugees are being denied water by UNHCR staff.

In summary we request the following:

  1. URGENT shelter, protection and food for LGBTQI refugees at Kakuma Reception Center gate
  2. Investigation and action regarding the allegation and denial of water at Reception gate to LGBTQI refugees
  3. Investigation into the Pre-Xmas attack on newly placed LGBTQI refugees in Zone 3 Block 8 and 9 and the allegation that UNHCR /officials purposely placed LGBTQI to face danger among community of heterosexual hostile Sudanese
  4. Long term shelter and planning for LGBTQI throughout Kenya, including those who are also being attacked and jailed from outside Kakuma, to include Nairobi
  5. Long term planning to find new routes for LGBTQI refugees escaping violence based on SOGI

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS AN EMERGENCY: We need urgent donations to continue to provide food and resources at

Advocacy: African Human Rights Coalition
Speaker: Melnathan
Mediation: Private Courts
Follow me on Twitter – @MelanieNathan1
Instagram: @commissionermelnathan


8 thoughts on “Allegations that UNHCR refusing water to attacked LGBTI Refugees at Kakuma Gate

  1. Thanks you for alerting the neglected case of LGBTIQ refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya. As an eye witness UNHCR still blame government for transitioning based of power of implementation. But it’s clear that all implementing agencies under UNHCR seems to be the basic foundation of all heinous conditions. There is no basic assistance at all, though they are mandated to give serve without discrimination whatsoever. It’s now clear for their bias and questionable services to sexual and gender minorities. Are we safe in their hands? Or we are intentionally exposed to psychological torture intending to convert our innate behaviors? This is worse in urban settlement, where at least three in ten is likely exposed to contract HIV in search of a daily bread or shelter and extremely disappointing when it comes to Trans*diverse community! Raising alarms is the only chance of condemning this atrocities on day light.

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