Home

LGBTQ Refugees Allege Anti-Gay Police Harassment In Kenya: ‘We Are Suffering’

By Kelsey Marie

Share

Kenya is known as a refuge for the LGBTQ community in East Africa. However, many LGBTQ refugees have been tormented by Kenyan police in the past few weeks.

Nina Muregwa, a 17-year-old Burundi national, told TIME that she feels threatened ⁠— she escaped death threats because of her sexual identity back home. She escaped to Kenya thinking she finally found a safe haven, but she is once again scared for her life.

Kenya is the only country in East Africa where a person can be registered as a refugee based on their LGBTQ status.

Muregwa, along with 16 other refugees, reported being arrested at gunpoint by five police officers earlier in June. They were all locked up without being charged.

Two days later, on June 10, they were released and another group of police officers tried to arrest them. This time, the United Nations refugee agency stepped in.

Philip Ndolo, the Nairobi police chief, told The Associated Press the refugees were arrested for their own protection. No further details were given.


The refugees have locked themselves in their two-bedroom house in the capital city of Nairobi and won’t even leave for food because of the threats they are receiving from local residents.

Last month, there were protests by LGBTQ refugees outside the U.N. refugee agency office in Nairobi because the refugees wanted support from the U.N. and respect from Kenyan authorities.

There was also a sit-in protest in April, where some 55 LGBTQ refugees demanded that the Kenyan authorities not close the emergency shelter they were staying in.

Although the U.N. refugee agency has told the LGBTQ refugees they would assist in finding housing, Muregwa says, “the recent ruling has shown that we are not welcome in this country. We cannot live where we are unwanted.”

The refugees are currently receiving a $60 stipend per month but it is not enough to cover the cost of living.

Congolese refugee, Mvugonziza Espoir says, “we only eat porridge once a day. How can one only survive on porridge in this life? We are suffering.”

This comes after last month’s High Court’s ruling which upholds the criminalization of gay sex in Kenya.

Share
Travel Noire

Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Day Of Mourning In Liberia After 27 Children Die In School Fire

Day Of Mourning In Liberia After 27 Children Die In School Fire

A national day of mourning has begun in Liberia after a fire broke out at a religious boarding school, claiming the lives of 27 children. The children were sleeping in a building attached to a mosque right before it caught fire on Tuesday evening around 11 pm local time, Presidential Press Secretary Isaac Solo Kelgbeh […]

Parker Diakite

Meet The Group That’s Coordinating ‘Birthright Trips’ To Africa

Meet The Group That’s Coordinating ‘Birthright Trips’ To Africa

This year’s 400th year anniversary of the first Africans to arrive in America has sparked an interest in ancestral tourism with people from the United States, Caribbean, and Europe seeking to explore their West African roots. Tourism in Ghana has nearly doubled this year alone after the country’s President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the “Year of […]

Parker Diakite

Get To Know These 7 African Islands You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Get To Know These 7 African Islands You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Did you know that there are 54 countries in Africa? If you’re curious about traveling the continent, I assure you there is a wide array of destinations to suit every type of traveler. Each region of Africa is unique in food, culture, and scenery. With a continent so large, it’s easy to not be aware […]

Kelsey Marie / Africa