This leaflet, in Swahili, asked the camp’s residents not to mix with gay people[/caption]
Hundreds of people in Uganda’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have fled the country to escape homophobia and persecution. But many are now stuck in Kenya where the situation is not much better.Tyrone, not his real name, has had a tough time since arriving in Kenya in December 2014. Just days after arriving in the country he was beaten up by a mob in the capital, Nairobi. It was Christmas Day. Since then the 19-year-old has been arrested and beaten up by police three times. He told me on one occasion three policemen called him over and asked him why he was “walking like a girl”. “When I couldn’t answer them, they beat me up and when they saw on one of my documents that I was a Ugandan refugee, they abused me saying I was one of the people Museveni [Uganda’s president] had kicked out of the country for being gay.” He has moved house several times after being attacked by neighbours. Tyrone is one of more than 500 Ugandans who have escaped to Kenya, to apply for asylum and be resettled abroad on the basis of their sexual orientation. His country made international headlines in recent years when it tried to introduce a tough new anti-homosexuality law, which allowed life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality”. Although the courts struck it down, the environment has proved too dangerous for a growing number of Ugandans. But in Kenya they face constant attacks, kidnappings, extortion and police harassment. Recently, almost a dozen LGBT people were taken by the United Nation’s refugee agency (UNHCR) to a safe house in Nairobi, after they were attacked on a night out. Even that agency – the very group tasked with protected LGBT people – has admitted its own staff are hostile. The deputy head of protection for UNHCR told me that staff have said that as Christians they could not work with, or talk to, a gay man. “It’s difficult for people to go beyond all the prejudices they have. And this is what we faced with our own colleagues,” Catherine Hamon explained. Some of the Ugandans I spoke to also told me this discrimination from UNHCR staff has led to delays in determining their refugee status, making them live with uncertainty about their future. The situation is no different for those who choose to live in refugee camps.