The LGBTQ people who live in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya are experiencing a life or death crisis that has been happening for years. The 900 LGBTQ+ people who live in the Kakuma camp in Kenya who I know about experience every day discrimination, violent attacks, rape and are killed by others who live there. Ten people who live with HIV, including children, who now live in Kakuma can’t get medication for HIV that they need to take every day. There are many others who are not open about their HIV status and people who are living with HIV who are sick that need HIV medication and don’t have this. Trans and non binary individuals who live in the Kakuma refugee camp do not have access to hormone therapy.
The LGBTQ folks who live in Kakuma are routinely discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and gender identity by others who live on the camp, including the staff and by people who could hire them when they go to apply for jobs. They are denied access to health care, education and experience unreasonable extended delays for their asylum claims by the Kenyan government.
Because the LGBTQ community who live in Kakuma experience routine deliberate delays from authorities when processing their asylum claims and they cannot have a resident permit that they need to get a job. This is a vicious cycle of oppression that keeps the LGBTQ in Kakuma from getting ahead and having enough food, water, clothing and medication for HIV that the need to live every day. They are prevented from access to the same kinds of help and opportunities that other asylum seekers have .
People in Kakuma don’t get or have monetary support from the UNCHR that runs the Kakuma refugee camp. The World Food Program gives a minimal monthly ration to every person for food that is not enough for a person to eat every day. Many people who I spoke with Nov 15 did not eat that day.
Most people who are LGBTQ who live in the Kakuma refugee camp are from Uganda. Uganda laws makes being a person from the LGBTQ community a crime that is punishable with 10 years of prison and also death. People who are LGBTQ flee Uganda and come to Kenya seeking safety and opportunities and they are not safe in Kenya also. They do not speak Swahili, which is the language that is spoken in Kenya. People in Kenya understand that they are from Uganda because of this and find out that they are LGBTQ because they know that LGBTQ people from Uganda are refugees in Kenya. People in Kenya discriminate against LGBTQ people and stop the LGBTQ asylum seekers who live in Kakuma who are from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the Republic of the Congo from getting hired for work. They need this money so that they can pay for food, medication for HIV, clothing and other life saving essentials.
In an article written May 19, 2023 called : “Kenya: Kakuma refugee camp complex not yet safe for LGBTI refugees.” Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director, Irungu Houghton says: “Despite a constitution that protects life and dignity for all, LGBTI asylum seekers suffer discrimination as well as homophobic and trans phobic attitudes from government officials, the police and other service providers.”
When I asked the LGBTQ rights activists in Kakuma who I spoke with on WhatsApp Nov15 if they report the violent assaults they experience to the authorities they told me that they do go to the police and the local Kenyan government and no one is willing to help or provide any safety.
Hamu Smith, who is an LGBTQ rights activist and a member of the LGBTQ community who lives in the Kakuma refugee camp has organized a fundraising campaign on GoGetFunding that is called: Support the Queers in Kakuma Refugee Camp. This is the link to lean more and to donate: https://gogetfunding.com/support-the-queers-in-kakuma-refugee-camp/
Hamu Smith is asking people to contribute to help the LGBTQ refugees in Kakuma so they can pay for HIV medication that they don’t have, hormone therapy and for food, cooking oil, water and what they need to survive every day . This is the link https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RZjBMQayTM7BGRC-pwQUiahi7w86LWjm/view?usp=drivesdk to a table that Hamu Smith and others in the Kakuma camp section 5 made that shows how much money they need every week for food, HIV medication and supplies for cooking using the Kenyan Shilling. It is a total of $906.43 US per week.
Could you please give $25 and share this petition with others who you know who can help? Thank you.