UNHCR has called for dialogue among refugee communities living in Kakuma, to reduce “tensions in a specific area of the refugee camp”.
UNHCR said in a statement that it has received conflicting reports from different communities who have been accusing each other of provoking violence in recent weeks.
“More specifically, in the past weeks, a small group of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex (LGBTI) refugees and asylum-seekers have been reporting incidents of violence against them. In parallel, members of other refugee communities and LGBTI refugees and asylum-seekers living in other parts of the Kakuma camp have reported threats and violence perpetrated by individuals belonging to this small group, UNHCR said.
The refugees agency estimates 300 refugees and asylum-seekers who self-identify as LGBTI live in Kakuma.
“The majority live dispersed across the camp, are well integrated and have reported a limited number of security incidents over the past several months,” UNHCR said.
“The security and well-being of all refugees and asylum-seekers, regardless of their age, nationality sexual orientation, gender identity, race or any other aspect of their profile, is UNHCR’s top priority”.
As UNHCR condemned violence against refugees and asylum-seekers, including acts perpetrated by other refugees, it noted that police and local authorities have enhanced the security measures in the areas of the camp where LGBTI reside.
“To reduce tensions and facilitate peaceful co-existence in the area, UNHCR, along with the Refugee Affairs Secretariat, local law enforcement and refugee community leaders, has put in place mechanisms for community dialogue, bringing all refugee groups together to openly discuss challenges and identify constructive ways to address them and improve the security of all residents.”
“ We hope that those who have so far refused to engage will agree to join this important initiative,” UNHCR said.