Kakuma Refugee Camp
Gender Dynamix applauds the government of Gabon particularly the parliamentarians for recognising and acknowledging the existence of the LGBTI. This was reflected when 48 parliamentarians in the lower Senate house voted for decriminalising[i]. We can only hope that the precedence set by the lower house will be similar to that that will be set by the upper house.
However, it becomes challenging for us to celebrate some of the victories while on the other hand, our refugee siblings are going through the most currently in Kenya. Kakuma is one of the world’s largest refugee camps and is home to a significant LGBTIQ community. However, the envisioned safe space to the members from the LGBTI community has been nothing but unpleasant and hostile space for them. Refugees form part of the most at-risk demographic where most are often without proper health care hence at greater risk of exposure. Most refugees remain in overcrowded camps, such as Kakuma as they are not citizens hence are not afforded the same benefits. Additionally, LGBTI refugees continue to face further exclusion, marginalisation and violence from the community within the camp who view them as humiliating themselves and their countries of origin by simply being themselves and who they are.
We condemn the attacks which took place on 19th June 2020, the ones beforehand and those that continue to take place. Our siblings are continuously facing prejudice, discrimination and in some instances violence at the camp, where homophobia and transphobia pervade with continued violence propagated on this community by other refugees in the Kakuma Camp[ii]. Although GDX recognises the efforts by UNHCR who sent down police to the Camp and for ensuring that the victims of the attacks get medical attention, there is still more to be done. There is need to actively create safe spaces for the LGBTI community who is at the camp, which the UNHCR can facilitate.
Let us amplify our voice as human rights organisations, as the LGBTIQ movement across Africa let’s lobby and advocate for LGBTIQ refugees in the camp to be have accesss to a safe space and in the absence of this be provided with resources to enable them be evacuated out of the camp and placed in a safer environment. We urge the Kenyan government to protect the human rights of LGBTIQ refugees in Kenya.