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LGBT refugees attacked and threatened with death after holding Pride celebration in camp

Jess Glass June 20, 2018

LGBT activists celebrate at the camp and the threat they found three days later (Refugee Flag Kakuma)

A group of LGBT refugees have been attacked and been sent death threats after they held a Pride event in their refugee camp.

A group of refugees have faced physical violence and death threats from other camp members following the first Pride parade in the camp at the weekend.

Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp is home to many LGBT refugees who have fled their home countries due to fear of homophobic persecution.

Members of the camp’s LGBT community (Refugee Flag Kakuma / Facebook)

The refugees who organised the event are from group Refugee Flag Kakuma, and it was primarily attended by LGBT people who had fled neighbouring Uganda with the help of a crowdfunder.

Shortly after the celebration, a member of Refugee Flag Kakuma spotted a sign that had been placed prominently on one of the camp’s notice boards.

The handwritten message demanded that the LGBT refugees leave the camp, threatening to kill them if they stayed.

The notice appeared in the camp shortly after the event (Refugee Flag Kakuma / Provided)

The sign stated: “Warning. This is to inform all men and women (gays) living in Kakuma 3, Zone 1, Block 1.

“Whatever you have been doing has to come to an end. We have kept quiet for some time. You must leave the camp because you have spoiled our religion and children.

“If you don’t leave the camp, we are going to kill you one by one and we mean it. Enough is enough.”

LGBT activists celebrate at the camp (Refugee Flag Kakuma / Facebook)

A spokesperson from Refugee Flag Kakuma told PinkNews that two members of the group had already faced physical violence for being publicly involved in the event.

“The longer it’s there the more effect it has, two people were attacked the night after the event, a lesbian and transgender person,” they said.

Homosexuality has previously carried a life sentence in Uganda and LGBT people often face violence and persecution.

It is also illegal to be gay in Kenya, but many in the camp hope for resettlement in a third country where homosexuality is legal.

LGBT activists celebrate at the camp (Refugee Flag Kakuma / Facebook)

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been president of Kenya for five years, said in April that being gay is “not acceptable” and “not agreeable” in Kenyan culture, and that LGBT+ rights are “of no importance” in his country.

During the parade, rainbow flags were on display at the camp as many from the camp’s LGBT community came out to celebrate their identities.

Pride organiser Wamalabashier Gibson explained: “People are so in the closet, they don’t want to show up for security reasons and protecting reasons.

“So when I say we are the voice of the voiceless, it is we who have come out to tell people that we are of no harm and we are human beings.”

More: Africa, death threats, Homophobia, homophobic violence, Kenya, Kenya, LGBT, LGBT rights, Pride, pride events, refugee, refugee camp, violence

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