Lesbians and gays living in Kenyan Refugee Camps have accounted that they are constantly living in fear of attacks.
In a Reuters publication, 28-year-old Eva Nabagala recalls that she was attacked and raped for being lesbian in a refugee camp in Kenya. For instance, she had fled Uganda with her young son hoping to find safety only for things to turn worst.
“I ran from my home … because I wanted to be safe, I wanted protection, but it has turned into something the opposite,” she said.
According to the publication, Nabagala is among 300 gays and lesbians living in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Northwestern Kenya who have been repeatedly attacked due to their sexual orientation.
“I have been threatened with death, I have been beaten, I have been harassed sexually, and I have been sexually abused, raped,” Nabagala told Reuters by phone.
Further, the group accuses the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of neglect and failure to protect them.
In their response, UNHCR told the publication that their role is to offer support to survivors of assault, violence and other crimes while the police are to investigate and take action.
“Whenever we are informed … we do our utmost to provide medical, legal and social-economic support and psychosocial counseling to survivors,” the agency is quoted.
Charles Owino, the Kenya National Police Spokesperson indicated that he was not aware of the reports but agreed that refugees in Kenyan camps are exposed to violence.
In another account of events, Stephen Sebuuma, a Ugandan indicated that the camp they were in was attacked on three occasions with other refugees armed with iron bars and machetes. They ended up injuring four adults and two children.
Same-sex relationships in Kenya are not legal and are punishable by law with up to 14 years in prison. In a ruling last year, May, the High Court upheld the ruling criminalizing homosexual acts between two consenting adults.
This was in reference to a petition filed in 2016 where three organizations sought to protect the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.
“We hereby decline the relief sought and dismiss the combined petition. We find that the impugned sections are not unconstitutional, accordingly the combined petitions have no merit,” read the ruling by Justice Roselyne Aburili.