Refugee Coalition of East Africa Logo

The Refugee Coalition of East Africa (RefCEA) received emergency communication from the compound known as ‘Great Lakes’ on Monday 10 June 2019. Great Lakes leadership stated that the Landlord had sent an Agent at 1:00 PM with immediate notice to vacate the premises by 4:00 PM. The action is a clear violation of the Tenancy Agreement from Pataya Properties Item 11 “Should a tenants character be deemed undesirable, he/she will be evicted from the house. A notice of one month shall be given in advance.” Deep in the Kangemi area of the informal settlement in the west of Nairobi, RefCEA’s Executive Director Jacob Ssekitto and Advisory Board member Michael B. Clark had previously visited the compound and found around 76 people living in 6 rooms measuring 2 meters by 2 meters, sharing 3 or 4 to a single bed.

Great Lakes leadership pled with the Landlord to give them time to leave as many women in the group have children, and it is not reasonable to expect any group of 76 people to pack all belongings and leave without notice. The Kangemi Chief then joined the interaction and allegations were made that the group is cursed, that LGBT are not wanted here, and that they are spreading disease. They were notified that the police were being summoned and a crowd of onlookers gathered.

Assistance to mediate the conflict was requested and Jacob Ssekitto, Director of RefCEA travelled to Kangemi. En route, Mr. Ssekitto was promised that no police would be summoned until he arrived. When he did so at 5:42 PM he was able to negotiate an extension on the eviction for two days, with orders to vacate by Wednesday, 12 June 2019.

Unfortunately, several residents had already started to vacate in an attempt to shelter before nightfall. The surrounding mob was still present, and the LGBTQI refugees were heckled, spat upon, and one man was stoned and beaten by the crowd until he was pulled to safety. Mr. Ssekitto instructed all Great Lakes residents to immediately return to their rooms, and guards were posted at the doors.

The population is predominantly originally from DR Congo, however those we spoke with included countries of origin including Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia. RefCEA did not yet conduct a census but roughly the residents are 14 lesbians, 10 children, 20 transgender women, one intersex and the remaining are gay and bisexual men.

The situation is indicative of the greater failure by the Kenyan government and UNHCR services to adequately provide for LGBTQI refugees in the region. Very few are receiving any form of financial assistance, medical care is impossible due to the cost of transportation and fear of using the local medical facilities. Many identifying as transgender stated they have not left their rooms in several months. Anti LGBTQI violence is the norm, and housing discrimination is common and permitted without any method of recourse.

“All LGBTQI refugees in Kenya are living in less than optimal conditions. However, the conditions for this group are among the worst I have seen, ever. The situation is dire. The Refugee Coalition will work with local and international partners over the next two days to secure funding for safe housing, transportation, security, and food. It is estimated that we will need 6 houses to hold 12 people each, at an estimated cost of 580,000 KSH / $5,800 USD by the morning of Wednesday 12 June 2019 to ensure all Great Lakes LGBTQI refugees are evacuated to safety.” – Michael B. Clark**, RefCEA Advisory Board.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

LGBTQ+ Musicians Experiences with Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Musicians from LGBTQ+ communities face significant barriers and issues relating to discrimination, sexual harassment and concerns around physical, mental and […]

WIN! A Storydo Family Storybook

Storydo is a ground-breaking platform that allows all types of families to tell their unique story and celebrate their family, […]

Military Charity Fighting With Pride Flies The Flag For LGBT History Month

Liverpool’s HMS Eaglet will host a special Veteran’s Pride event this month celebrating the service of LGBT+ veterans and serving personnel in […]

Franco Labia: Space Pride

Queer engineer and founder and president of Space Pride, Franco Labia is on a mission to diversify the space industry, which […]

Sacha Polak on Silver Haze

Screening at BFI Flare later this year, Silver Haze reunites Dutch writer/director Sacha Polak with British actor Vicky Knight. Having […]

Capturing People’s Truth: Anais Stupka

Anais Stupka is a London-based, Georgian-Italian multimedia artist who grew up in 14 different parts of the world.    Her […]

Philip Baldwin meets Adrian Trett

“It’s a real challenge to be non-binary and open about it in sport.”  Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett is a Liberal Democrat politician […]

Fynest Reads: To Cage a God

To Cage a God combines two things that fascinate me: Russian history and mythology. The book’s backdrop of a brewing […]

LGBT+ History Month 2024

The 2024 theme celebrates LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to the field of Medicine and Healthcare both historically and today.  We want […]

Touch-Me-Not: Ian Humphreys 

Touch-Me-Not  Ian Humphreys     this flower  doesn’t belong  on the canal  hiding  in an airless tunnel  where no-one goes  before […]