‘…they ignore us and leave us with no support, while the others beat us and threaten us…’
It is with great sadness and regret that documented LGBTIQ immigrants, from Uganda, continue to be treated this way on Kenyan soil. A land that has opened her doors to neighbors and their children for decades. A country that hosts the largest refugee camp in the southern hemisphere. A place we call home.
First, Kakuma camp became too hostile, for specific reasons the UNHCR-Nairobi mission has neither made public nor called for sessions to discuss diverse way forwards. Second, urban safety in Nairobi is proving to be a challenge.
For reasons we understand- (a) the urban population is unavailable or too costly to sensitize on refugee topics, (b) the urban population is facing a ‘youth bulge’ and high cases of unaffordable housing, let alone unemployment, (c) the urban population in Nairobi are now living under the ‘handshake wave,’ and as such, they have become intolerant to any incidences that may rock the ‘national boat’ of harmony. Third, the transfer of LGBTIQ refugees from Kakuma to Nairobi without proper networking and involvement of local activists and individuals with protection interests has become seriously consequential.
The LGBTIQ refugees were first isolated, then alienated from the protection system and then left to survive in Nairobi. This was without the needed capacity building, sustainable solutions or networks and, regard to the nature of their background and potentials. These are now evident. These gaps have led to consequences never-seen before in Nairobi.
However, we hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created Equal. Where, ‘men’ refers to all the three genders. Leaders of LGBTIQ refugees from Uganda held at a police cell in Nairobi-Kenya Emmanuel O. Nyambwa, the Projects Coordinator of Youth Health and Psychosocial Program (YHEPP) and others have a special message to the UNHCR-Nairobi mission and protection agencies concerned about the issues today and, those otherwise-as a grassroot project and networks of the LGBTIQ refugees from Uganda, we have the best understanding of what is going on.
We are demanding;
- the soonest action on the fronts of capacity building to enable their conventional communication methods, their self-reliance and, their civic understanding in the Kenyan context to avoid the status quo which includes no truly reliable legal aid or psychosocial support among others.
- an open visit to Kakuma camp, involving selected local activists (with refugee understanding) and representatives from Kenya’s Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA) to inspect and discuss a lasting solution to Kakuma camp safety and inclusion. Truth be told, Nairobi is not sustainable.
- a thorough review of sustainability projects carried by UNHCR and some of her friends for LGBTIQ refugees, and highlight the lessons learnt and draw a new plan. It is with great hope and understanding that we believe there will be action.
We believe, that whatever leads to, or attempts to lead LGBTIQ refugee youth wellness is equally our concern. And that we insist on protecting the reputation of our country and her refugee protection history in the community of Nations. Despite the scope and financial limitations of our youth project, we are prepared to present a paper on what we strongly believe could be a solution (for at least for 3 years) to the status quo in Nairobi, and demonstrate that Kenya Police Service, are our friends.
We can do this before the UNHCR and her friends, the East African Community sitting, the African Union session for migration or, an International congress seated for this hearing. In God We Trust.
Youth Health and Psychosocial Program (YHEPP) 13005-00100, Nairobi-Kenya. Admin: firstname.lastname@example.org Projects Coordinator: email@example.com 15th May 2019.