Reports from Nairobi say that the hunger strike by LGBTQ refugee advocate Mbazira Moses and his supporters has succeeded in winning authorities’ promise to release 20 jailed LGBTQ refugees.
The Refugee Flag Kenya advocacy group announced the end of the hunger strike yesterday, saying that bail for the prisoners has been met, with assistance from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Refugee Flag Kenya (RFK) said that the one lesbian prisoner in the group has already been released and the other 19 LGBTQ prisoners will be freed on Monday.
RFK issued this statement:
“RFK Team would love to thank UNHCR-Kenya for listening to our call for the release of our jailed brothers and sisters. We as a team have sacrificed a lot to this cause until it had to yield fruits.
We would love to thank our Executive Director Moses Mbazira and his assistant director, Kenn Tuke, for leading this cause to its success.
Our director Moses Mbazira led a risky hunger strike camped at UNHCR offices and him and team didn’t eat or drink anything for three days. We thank Moses and team for such a sacrifice.
The trans gender activists led by Refugee Trans Initiative (RTI) risked their lives to protest against the mistreatment of trans genders in prison. Their sacrifice has paid off.
Finally, we thank all the well-wishers and mentors who offered to us all the encouraging words of wisdom. You mean a lot to us.
We just secured the bail through UNHCR. Yes, we secured it late but better late than never. Our lesbian friend and sister Sheebah is out. Since it was too late, our other friends will be out on Monday morning and taken to a safer place.
This is not our own cause. It’s the cause for all of us who believe that LGBTQ refugees’ lives matter.”
On Feb. 22, the 20 refugees were jailed after being charged with public nuisance, trespassing, and defecating in public during a protest against mistreatment by UNHCR.
Hundreds of LGBT refugees in Kenya, who mostly fled anti-gay violence in Uganda, say they are abused by the UNHCR, cannot get work, have not been accepted for resettlement abroad and receive too little from the UNHCR to live on. Those in jail also protest inadequate medical treatment and abuse by homophobic and transphobic guards and prisoners.
UNHCR and its supporters say that budget cuts have left them severely limited in what they can do for the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have poured into Kenya from war-torn areas of East Africa and the hundred of LGBTQ refugees from Uganda and elsewhere.
Earlier this week, Mbazira and others began the hunger strike outside UNHCR offices in Nairobi on behalf of the jailed refugees, who needed $50 each for bail.
- Kenyan refugee leader threatens hunger strike; 20 still in jail (
- LGBT refugees protest Kenya arrests and jail time
- 20 gay refugees protest, then are jailed in Kenya
- U.N. plan for gay refugees: same abuse, new location? (December 2018, 76crimes.com)
- UNHCR Transfers LGBTI Refugees in Kenya to Unsanitary Crowded Conditions (December 2018, O-blog-dee blog)
- Gay refugees escape Kakuma’s dangers, reach Nairobi’s squalor (December 2018, 76crimes.com)
- U.N.: We’re moving LGBT refugees out of unsafe Kakuma Camp (December 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Violence greets protesting LGBT refugees in Kenya (December 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Kenya: Death threats follow refugees’ successful Pride (June 2018, 76crimes.com)
- LGBTI Ugandans prepare for Pride in refugee camp (June 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Flooding endangers LGBTI Ugandan refugees in Kenya (May 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Food shortages, violence still plague LGBTI refugees
- LGBTI refugees in Kenya: Food cutback, new security plan (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Kenya: LGBTI refugees trek for protection; funds needed (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Desperate LGBT refugees seek a way out, though it’s ‘suicidal’ (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Ugandan trans woman flees to Kenya, finds ‘complete hell’(June 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Prison for 17 protesting Ugandan refugees in Kenya (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Pictures of Police Using Force on LGBTI Refugees in Kenya outside UNHCR gates (May 2017, O-blog-dee blog)
- Kenya arrests LGBTI refugees, sends them into danger (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- For gay refugee, Kenya is tough, but better than Uganda (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- The lonely life of an LGBT Ugandan refugee in Kenya (May 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Trans man Prince fled Uganda to save his life (March 2017, 76crimes.com)
- I escaped death in Uganda. Now I’m a sex worker in Kenya (March 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Out of Kampala’s frying pan, into Nairobi’s fire (September 2016, 76crimes.com)