Dozens of LGBT+ refugees in the country are accusing the United Nations of failing to provide them adequate protection and shelter as homophobic attacks intensify, depriving them of their fundamental human right to seek asylum and enjoy international protection.
The minority refugees who were relocated from Kakuma Camp in December 2018 to a temporary emergency facility in Nairobi have claimed that homophobic refugees from the camp have been relocated to the same place raising panic of safety.
“The same fellow refugees who used to attack, discriminate, threaten, bully, injure us and even destroy our shelter in Kakuma including stealing much of our belongings, are currently being relocated to the same place that we are living in,” said the LGBT+ refugees in a statement.
The 55 refugees (51 adults and 4 children) camped at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in Westlands since April 10 demanding for relocation to a safe haven.
“We are in this regard demanding to be relocated to another safe place. Kitengela situation doesn’t provide safe environment for us,” read part of the circular.
According to the UNHCR, Kenyan authorities have requested for the emergency shelter in Nairobi which has housed vulnerable refugees to be closed in the coming days.
“The emergency facility was always intended to be temporary while trying to identify sustainable solutions. Since the moment refugees were moved to the shelter, we have been looking for alternative solutions that would allow them to live a normal and decent life,” said Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR’s Representative in Kenya.
“The same fellow refugees who used to attack, discriminate, threaten, bully, injure us and even destroy our shelter in Kakuma including stealing much of our belongings, are currently being relocated to the same place that we are living in,” LGBT+ refugees
The UNHCR and the UN Refugee Agency said they are accelerating plans ahead of the expected closure of the facility .
“UNHCR believes that the best solution available for refugees who are still residing in the emergency shelter and those protesting outside our office is to accept financial assistance and support, and organize their stay in urban areas,” said the UNHCR official. “This is a viable and appropriate solution, as confirmed by the nearly 100 refugees at risk who have been staying outside the shelter after they were relocated out of Kakuma late last year.”
“While we understand that resettlement is the solution they favor most, it is important to keep in mind that the number of resettlement places currently available is very limited and that the final decision does not belong to UNHCR, but to the countries ultimately receiving these refugees. The resettlement process can also take time, which is also why a local option must be agreed upon as quickly as possible,” said Ms Abdalla.