Attacks on LGBTIQ+ people in a refugee camp
We’d like to introduce to you a blog post series ‘LGBTIQ+ genocide has never stopped’ where we will be telling different stories from around the world. This post is about the attacks that LGBTIQ+ people are subjected to in a refugee camp.
Kakuma refugee camp is the second largest refugee camp in Kenia. While the life in this refugee camp is very difficult for everyone, LGBTIQ+ refugee community suffers the most. In Kenia homosexuality is punishable by 14 years’ imprisonment. It is not a safe place for LGBTIQ people in general, let alone having less rights as Kenyan nationals. Kenyan laws have some restrictions for refugees that regulate work rights and even rights to own animal stock. Local populations also have ongoing tensions with people from refugee camps.
A group of 130 LGBTIQ+ refugees lives in this camp. They constantly experience homo- and transphobic attacks from other refugees who live in the camp. FDPN was contacted by LGBTIQ+ people from the Kakuma camp sharing the harrowing details with us.
Issa (name has been changed to protect privacy) wrote to us that during these attacks, “they [perpetrators] burnt down houses, raped lesbians and threatened to kill us”.
“At first they were few in numbers and we tried to defend ourselves. Now the numbers of these attackers are growing every time. They took from us a little that we had, some scraps of food, blankets, clothes. In the middle of the day lesbians were attacked, beaten and stabbed with sharp objects. At the IRC hospitals in the camp the doctors are so homophobic”. Issa wrote to us.
Currently, resettlement to Australia is on hold due to the COVID pandemic. Despite many being selected for the resettlement, all of the LGBTIQ+ community is stuck in these life threatening circumstances. This shows how LGBTIQ+ people are not only at risk of violence and abuse but also in refugee camps.
More countries 1, 2 need to take leaderships on human rights and start prioritising and accepting more LGBTIQ+ refugees.