Over 170 LGBTI refugees have been successfully relocated from the refugee camps in Kakuma to a small compound in Nairobi following violent attacks against the community.
The move followed a protest outside the United Nations’ Refugee Agency Kenya compound on 11 December when LGBTI refugees attempted to deliver a petition calling for greater protections for the community.
Their march on the compound was met with violent abuse from a group of assailants, allegedly including the police, which left around 30 LGBTI people injured, reported Gay Star News.
Mbazira Moses, from the LGBTI advocacy group Refugee Flag Kakuma, organised the protest. He claimed the refugees were not provided adequate medical care following the attack.
“I’m feeling a lot of pain,” he said in a video posted on Facebook.
“I was beaten as an animal… right now I can’t move.”
Gibson, a leader of the LGBTI refugees, said, “Moses was hit on the head, arms, legs and has a swollen face and joints.”
“The other injuries were head bleeding, sharp cuts on the arms, penis and testicles.”
Gibson said the violent assault lasted for hours.
“There is tears and agony in the LGBTIQ refugee community.”
The protest was in response to an escalation of attacks and death threats against the community since June following a pride parade in the Kakuma refugee camp, the first of its kind.
Kakuma is one of the largest refugee camps in the world hosting over 180,000 people from over 10 different countries, with majority of LGBTI refugees hailing from Uganda.
“While UNHCR has undertaken great effort, together with the Kenyan government and partners, the Kakuma context does not provide a safe environment for LGBTI refugees and asylum-seekers,” a UNHCR spokeswoman said, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“UNHCR believes that the LGBTI refugees who were involved in this incident would be better protected outside Kakuma. The necessary measures have been taken to facilitate their removal.”
The African Human Rights Coalition has praised the move, according to Erasing 76 Crimes, but are critical of the conditions the LGBTI refugees are now living in, claiming the small Nairobi compound consists of only 11 rooms for upwards of 170 people.