UN moves LGBT+ refugees to safe houses after Kenya camp attacks

NAIROBI, Dec 13 (Openly) - LGBT+ refugees in Kenya's remote Kakuma camp are being moved to safe houses in Nairobi after they were attacked when protesting for greater protection, the United Nations said on Thursday.

The refugees said they were assaulted by locals and fellow refugees outside the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) office while protesting about rising homophobic attacks in recent months where LGBT+ members were beaten and their shelters set alight.

There are more than 750 LGBT+ refugees registered in Kenya with the UNHCR, mostly from Uganda, but also from Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Burundi, South Sudan and Somalia.

The latest attack happened on Tuesday in sprawling Kakuma camp in Kenya's northwestern Turkana county, home to at least 180,000 refugees from more than 10 countries.

Sexual minorities face widespread discrimination in Kenya and many other parts of Africa, where about 33 nations out of 54 criminalise same-sex relations, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

"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," said a UNHCR spokeswoman.

"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."

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation