Among the most predictably vulnerable during the Corona Virus pandemic is clearly the world’s refugee and migration population and the most vulnerable of all refugees are LGBTQI refugees, worldwide. Over 70 countries criminalize LGBTI people for their sexuality and gender identity. Many have compromised immune systems, major trauma, and underlying medical conditions, all an added threat when trying to avert Covid-19 and its harshest of consequences. Many have sought exile, many are asylum seekers in foreign countries, refugees in camps as well as urban areas and many are in the midst of a migration process that defies definition. All are at severe risk of starvation, sickness and death.
Working on the emergency through my position directing African Human Rights Coalition, I have made several observations:
- Certain countries have done very little in advance to specifically prepare for the needs of the refugee populations, other than to merely issue orders to STAY AT HOME, with little to no preparation as to how people will reach food an receive other imperative services. Lest we forget many have no shelter and no home;
- Some countries have made things more difficult for asylum seekers and refugees, such as the United States, by closing borders completely to those seeking refuge;
- Some countries have the troops out on the streets, beating and arresting citizens and foreigners alike, and whereas citizens generally have family and places to go, refugees and especially LGBTI refugees, do not;
- UNHCR is under-funded and in desperate need of funding to be able to make a dent into what will be required of them with regard to this pandemic, moving forward.
- Already the harshest of measures are being employed. Uganda for example already shot people on street for disobeying the Movement Ban Orders. How will this bode for refugees seeking safety and food? Especially LGBTI who often are alone?
Ugandan police said on Friday that two men were in hospital after being shot for violating restrictions on transport in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. People are being beaten on the street, even though President Museveni has yet to order total lockdown.
By way of example, painting the picture for ALL refugees, Ugandan Monitor publishes this story:
Jean Sadiki, 42, a resident of Namungoona in Kampala, is an urban refugee from the DRC. He has not left his house for the last two days and is already faced with hunger.
Sadiki earns a living by teaching French and Swahili to different families at a fee.
“Ever since President Museveni banned public transport, I have not left the house. If I do not leave the house, I do not earn. The ban on public transport was so sudden, we never got time to prepare for it. We are now suffering,” the father of three, told this newspaper on Friday.
“As we talk now, I have no food in the house,” he adds. Before the partial lockdown, Sadiki would travel by public transport to meet with his clientele of eight Somalis and four Ugandans, whom he teaches French and Swahili, respectively.
It is not only food that this refugee is worried about. His monthly rent bill of Shs350,000 is about to be dropped at his door.
“Many urban refugees are going to die of hunger. I have talked to colleagues who want to sell some of their household items to buy food but no one is interested in buying them,” he says, adding that the President’s call for people to stay at home had hit urban refugees hardest because many of them live from hand to mouth.
in Africa, the confirmed cases are still few, and mostly connected to travels from either Asia or Europe. The cases are beginning to rise in Africa, especially in South Africa. While Africa is used to dealing with epidemics, this one, noted by The World health organization to be a Pandemic, has unique challenges through how it is transmitted. We do not know what is to come. However we must prepare to help the most vulnerable.
African HRC has entered into partnership with ALLOut, and RefCEA in Kenya, seeking funding at this time to feed and shelter LGBTQI refugees during this pandemic.
The following funds are needing support:
GENERAL EMERGENCY AND OPERATIONAL FUND FOR AFRICAN LGBTQI PEOPLE in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Angola, Niger, The Gambia, Ghana.
AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COALITION: HERE where you will receive a tax deduction in the USA.
SPECIFIC FUNDING FOR LGBTQI IN KAKUMA KAMP, KENYA.
Proudly, we are working hard at African HRC and have partnered with ALLOut and RefCEA to feed and shelter LGBTI refugees during COVID-19 outbreak.
While many of us are staying home to preserve our lives and the lives of people we love, LGBT+ refugees at Kakuma – the world’s largest refugee camp, located in the northwest region of Kenya – have no choice.
When COVID-19 arrives in Kakuma, it’s going to be swift and devastating. Especially for LGBT+ refugees, who are often forgotten about and left to fight for survival.
Donate today to help pay for meals, emergency transport, and medical care for 200 LGBT+ refugees in Kakuma over the next 3 months 👉HERE: bit.ly/lgbtkakuma
MY BIRTHDAY FUND VIA FACEBOOK African HRC is seeking emergency funding for the COVID-19 pandemic as we anticipate extreme hardship for LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees. In general we provide humanitarian resources, safe shelter, medicine, food, exile consulting, country conditions expert testimony, case management to include referrals, resources, and advocacy. We work with victimized and persecuted LGBTQI individuals in and from the over 30 African countries which criminalize sexuality and gender identity.
By Melanie Nathan
Follow me on Twitter – @MelanieNathan1
Check out my Instagram: Commissionermelnathan
Refugee / Asylum Advocacy:www.africanHRC.org