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Just hours after a trans asylum seeker was attacked by a mob, homophobes pelted LGBT refugees with stones

Josh Milton November 20, 2019
A trans refugee was attacked by a "homophobic group" on November 19. (Facebook)

A trans refugee was attacked by a "homophobic group" on November 19. (Facebook)

In the space of a single afternoon, a trans refugee was reportedly battered with rocks and another trans man attacked leaving him with cuts to the head yesterday.

Queer refugees in the Kakuma camp in Kenya – many fleeing from neighbouring country’s vicious anti-LGBT laws – have reported being under siege from assaults in recent weeks.

Not only was a trans man allegedly jumped on by outsiders, but just hours later, locals reportedly returned armed with stones and pelted them at the patch of the camp where queer refugees are staying.

Queer refugees reportedly attacked with stones and called ‘demons’ by locals. 

Kakuma, a northwestern small town in the Turkana county, is the site of one of the largest and most bustling refugee camps in the country.

While people seek safety there each year, huddling into plastic shelters and thatched roof huts, it is a “dungeon” to its LGBT+ refugees.

More than 160,000 refugees currently call the camp home.

It is co-managed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Kenyan government and the Kenyan Department of Refugee Affairs.

Kakuma, a town in northwest Kenya. (PinkNews)
Kakuma, a town in northwest Kenya, contains a refugee camp which has become the makeshift sanctuary of many Ugandans fleeing prosecution. (PinkNews)

The trans man was attacked in the afternoon by a group of Turkana locals, a witness said, on November 19.

He was left with two wounds on his forehead, according to photographs, and received dressing from a camp hospital.

Yet, at around 7pm, a group of Turkana locals – although, it is unclear if the group was connected to the previous alleged attacks – came to the fence that surrounds the camp.

A trans man was brutally battered by a group of locals who entered the camp, a witness has claimed. (Facebook)
A trans man was brutally battered by a group of locals who entered the camp, a witness has claimed. (Facebook)

According to witnesses who spoke to PinkNews, people hurled rocks at LGBT+ refugees who sought shelter and protection at the camp’s reception centre.

One trans refugee, who wished to remain anonymous, told PinkNews that he was “stoned on the arm”.

“Luckily”, he said, “it wasn’t that deep.”

“Our lives are in danger as LGBTIQ refugees,” he explained.

“The homophobic community has vowed to eliminate us all should we continue staying here in Turkana.

“They say we homosexuals are demons and agents of poverty and drought in their area.”

Trans folk allegedly assaulted mark the third and fourth attacks in three weeks against LGBT+ refugees. 

According to the dreamer, who fled Uganda after his parents tried to kill him for being trans, this was the “third attack” against a trans refugee by a “homophobic gang” in the last three weeks.

He added: “We are living in fear, and we surely don’t know what next.

“They said the Reception Centre is the safer area but now we have been attacked in the same protection area.

“Sad.”

Ugandan LGBT+ refugees
Ugandan LGBT+ refugees in Kenya. (Sally Hayden/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

Testimonies from refugees to PinkNews have detailed a camp playbook of near-weekly attacks from not only fellow refugees, but reportedly from camp organisers themselves.

Last week, another trans refugee had his neck cut and genitals tugged on by a similarly described “homophobic group”.

“My life is in danger,” he told PinkNews, explaining how camp paramedics only gave him “paracetamol” to treat the wounds on his neck.

Conditions in the camp have forced some LGBT+ refugees to fundraise for financial aid, as they report of “unclean” living situations and daily abuse.

Why are queer Ugandans fleeing to Kenya?

Often rejected by their families, queer Ugandans are forced to flee and seek refuge in neighbouring Kenya.

Uganda, an east African country snarled by severe anti-LGBT legislation, has become a battleground for queer rights.

In the last few years, government officials have ramped up ruthless attacks on the community.

A supposed plan to introduce the death penalty on gay sex struck terror in Ugandan activists, who have said anti-LGBT violence has rocketed since.

LGBT+ refugees from South Sudan, Uganda and DR Congo walking to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya to demand protection (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty)

This year alone, queer Ugandans have been bludgeoned with machetes, had community centres mobbed only for LGBT+ staff to be arrested, a doctor crack the skull of a lesbian and a gay-friendly club raided leading to 127 LGBT+ people being arrested by army and police officers.

Embattled queer folk have fled to Kenya, but only this year did that country’s courts call to continue criminalising gay sex.

 

More: asylum seekers, Kenya, refugees, transphobia, Uganda

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