Attacked While Asleep: LGBTQI Refugees injured in Orchestrated Homophobic Attacks at Kakuma Kenya

REAL TIME UPDATES- below this report.

The 45 LGBTQI refugees who have been camped out at the UNHCR Kakuma Reception Center Gates have been beaten and injured in an attack tonight by a mob in white T Shirts. The report we have received is that this was an organized attack. The attackers apparently outnumbered the refugees. Some refugees  were able to flee into the surrounding darkness. Others have been hospitalized or fled to the nearest police station.

The attackers wore white T shirts so that they could identify each other. They threw stones and wielded sticks.

Reports coming in allege that men believed to be heterosexual Sudanese refugees and Turkana residents of the local land that hosts Kakuma camp were involved in the attack. It is reported that the attacking crowd was large out numbering the refugees. Those that could not flee in time were beaten with sticks and stones. Some of the injured have been taken to hospital.

Some of the Refugees, now too terrified to remain at the Gates, previously believed to be the safest area for them because they had been denied entry into the reception center,  have retreated to the nearest Police Station, the possible lesser of the 2 evils. In Kenya reporting to police risks being jailed by Kenyan police, albeit victims. Their only other choice would be further beatings by attackers. In Kenya LGBTQI people are criminalized for being LGBTQI and we are concerned that they are properly treated as victims of the attack, rather than jailed under suspicion of being LGBTQI.

AFRICAN HRC © 2020 : Beatings of LGBTQI Refugees at UNHCR Kakuma Gate

I wrote this: Kenya proves it can no longer Host LGBTI Refugees due to Escalating Violence,  on December 26, 2019. and ALL the follow reports linked below. And now, just as predicted, they have been attacked again – with UNHCR protection nowhere in sight. THIS IS A CRISIS and Must be addressed immediately.

My colleague Marc Cohen, Director of Humanitarian Programs for African HRC notes:

“This is Absolutely the Theatre of the Absurd. UNHCR is stating attacks are being perpetrated by common criminals and are not targeted at any particular individuals. However, this repeatedly continues to happen. The LGBT Refugees are not safe in the resettled community areas. When they run back to seek safe protection from UNHCR at Reception, they are denied re-entry. Inside of the Reception Center, they are being told they must allow themselves to be resettled into the same general community areas, making their lives vulnerable as well. UNHCR is proving in Real Time that the LGBT Refugees are not safe and protected from Human Rights violations and life threatening attacks, anywhere at UNHCR Kakuma Refugee Camp.”

We are reporting in real time and I will update as the Kenyan night unfolds.

Notable, the refugees had nowhere else to go after a Dec 21 attack, which sent them fleeing to the gates. UNHCR has been made aware of the Dec 21 attack and ongoing events since, yet have failed to come up with solution, other than to suggest the refugees return to the shelters where they were initially attacked. This attack proves the refugees have nowhere to go and are trapped in a situation where they are fodder for beatings! It also proves that the LGBTQI group is being targeted and not mere victims of petty theft or vandalism as suggest by UNCR and revealed in my earlier reports.

Other than reporting to UNHCR Helpline, which is not answering, we have yet to seek UNHCR input or verification from the hospital and are relying on direct reports from the LGBQI refugees. We do not know if the contracted GS4 Kenya security were protecting the gates or not at the time.

Pictures have come in. These are the ones I am comfortable posting at this time.

AFRICAN HRC © 2020 : Beatings of LGBTQI Refugees at UNHCR Kakuma Gate


Officials at UNHCR in Geneva are aware of the earlier attacks, yet there has been no offer of resolution or resources to help the attacked refugees.


Reporting in real time 1.47 AM: The Police have refused protection to the LGBTQI victims of the attack. They have sent them back to reception Gates where they were attacked. The G4S guards are refusing to open the gates to let the refugees into the Reception area where they could have a measure of protection. The LGBTQI refugees are fearful that the attackers will return. We have no updates about those injured in the earlier attack.


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This Reporting is with thanks to the investigative work of LGBTQI leadership on the ground in Kakuma who we shall not name for their own safety as well as Mark Cohen, Director of Humanitarian affairs for African HRC.

NOTE: Many thanks to the AFRICAN HRC directors and volunteers have spent their entire XMAS and New Year Holiday period working on this emergency.

@UN.Geneva #KAKUMA #Refugees


CHRON OF REPORTING FROM DEC 26th 2019 to date:

Kenya proves it can no longer Host LGBTI Refugees due to Escalating Violence

It is Xmas day. Two nights ago, while asleep for the first time in their new shelters at Kakuma Kenya, LGBTI refugees were attacked with sticks and fists.  Terrified they were about to be killed, some ran for the bushes and others risked camping outside the Reception Center in the hope that they may finally receive some real protection and security

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