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LGBT refugees 'taken back to camp' where they were beaten

In Summary

• The group, made up of 76 men, women and children, had been crammed into a small house in Nairobi.

• On Wednesday evening they were told to pack up their belongings for the 740km journey back to Kakuma camp.

Activists wave the gay pride flag in a past protest in Nairobi.
Activists wave the gay pride flag in a past protest in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

A group of LGBT refugees who had left a refugee camp in north-west Kenya after being targeted in violent homophobic attacks are being bussed back there from the capital, Nairobi, some of them have told the BBC Great Lakes service.

The group, made up of 76 men, women and children, had been crammed into a small house in Nairobi.

On Wednesday evening they were told to pack up their belongings for the 740km (460 mile) journey back to Kakuma camp.

 

At the end of last year, the authorities running Kakuma said that they were no longer able to protect LGBT refugees.

One of the refugees has sent the BBC a photo of notice, date stamped in February, telling them that they had to get help from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

They finally left Kakuma for Nairobi in April. They were hounded out of the first place they settled once people in the area discovered their sexual orientation.

They then went to the small house in the south of the city. Armed police were stationed outside the compound to protect them.

In April, some had mounted a demonstration outside the UNHCR offices in the Kenyan capital to ask for help. Since then, the UN has been giving them a $600 (£470) monthly stipend, which they say is not enough to live on.

One of the group told the BBC that "Wherever we have lived we face homophobia because of our orientation, life is very hard.

We don’t see our future, we are not criminals, we are with innocent children, we don’t know where to flee to, we beg UNHCR for protection.”

 

The UNHCR has told the BBC that they will release a statement later on Thursday.


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