Desperate LGBTQ refugee hangs himself outside U.N. agency in Kenya

A desperate Ugandan LGBTQ refugee committed suicide outside the U.N. refugee agency in Nairobi today after he failed to win financial assistance there, LGBTQ activists in Kenya report.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Map of Kenya shows the locations of Nairobi and the Kakuma refugee camp.

The suicide comes at a time when the HIAS refugee support organization and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have been cutting back the minimal financial assistance that LGBTQ refugees in Nairobi have received in the past.

This cutback is in line with the Kenyan government’s policy that all refugees must be located in refugee camps such as the huge Kakuma Camp, where LGBTQ refugees make up a small, persecuted minority of the population of about 500,000.

“This is true. It happened. So traumatizing,” one Kenyan activist stated in response to the news of the suicide. Photos of the hanged man were posted online but are not being published as part of this article.

These services are available to assist readers who are deeply affected by the news of the suicide:

  • Kenya Helpline: [email protected]
  • USA Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255
  • Trevor Project USA: 1-866-488-7386.

Ugandan LGBTQ refugee Aneste Mweru sought asylum in Kenya in January 2017 and his refugee status was recognized by Kenyan authorities in March 2019, the African Human Rights Coalition stated.

According to refugee activists, Mweru hoped to get help from UNHCR today even though the agency was closed for the Easter Monday holiday. He had a confrontation with police and guards working for G4S Security Services, was assaulted by them, and then hanged himself from a nearby tree, they said.

UNHCR said that Kenyan police are investigating the incident, AHRC stated.

Mbazira Moses, controversial leader of the Refugee Flag Kenya advocacy group, reported:

Today April 13th, is the saddest Easter Monday to the LGBT refugee community living in Nairobi. After being continuously frustrated and ignored by UN protection officers. Aneste Mweru decided  to hung himself by the tree at UNHCR offices Nairobi at around 10am. His lifeless body has been sent to the pathologist for a postmortem. (Eye witnesses say he was badly assaulted by G4S and police and therefore the postmortem report should independently be done and made public.)

Friends say that Aneste woke up today in very bad moods and wanted some assistance. He travelled to UNHCR confident that he would be assisted. Since Easter Monday is a public holiday most UNHCR officers were out on holiday enjoying life with their loved ones during this lock down period.

He was ordered by G4S to disappear or face it rough as usual. Aneste responded by saying he was not moving an inch and needed assistance. G4S and police usually have orders from their superiors to beat, [maim] or even kill if their orders are disobeyed.

Aneste was roughed up and badly assaulted. In so much pain, he crawled to the nearest tree, climbed it and hanged himself so that he could  free himself from the extreme pain he had suffered.

UNHCR issued this statement:

“We, at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are profoundly shocked and saddened by the tragic death and apparent suicide of a refugee today in Nairobi.

Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends. We ask everyone to kindly respect his dignity and the dignity and privacy of his family, and to desist from circulating pictures of the deceased.

The deceased person, a Ugandan national was recognized as a refugee by the Government of Kenya.

We are in close contact with the Kenyan police, who have launched an investigation to clarify the circumstances surrounding his death.

UNHCR is also in regular contact with the refugee community and relevant authorities to ensure that any required support is provided and to prevent the spread of misinformation.

UNHCR is concerned about the growing challenges faced by refugees and asylum-seekers as well as communities hosting them, in meeting their basic needs in the current difficult context.

UNHCR will continue to do its utmost to deliver critical protection and assistance to the nearly 500,000 refugees and asylum-seekers living in Kenya, especially during these challenging times.”

 

Related articles:

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

6 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Its so sad and heart breaking fellas are getting trumor from this bad treatment in the kakuma camp they end up hating who they are and hurt them selves due to brutality of people in the camp we exist we know now but we are not safe I don’t even know the right reasons but it’s so sad that it has got to this

  2. The cruelty inflicted on the gay citizens of many African countries is sickening, disgusting, and ungodly. How dare you treat your citizens by beatings, intimidation, rejection, and killing. No matter how you decide to mistreat your gay citizens, you will never be able to change their sexual orientation. It is innate and fixed. And it can’t be prayed away. Don’t you know they themselves have spent years praying and it hasn’t changed anything. Don’t you all understand that humanity is very diverse. Homosexuality exist in every society across the world globe just like heterosexuality. It has existed since time immemorial . It was practice in ancient civilizations and during Christ’s existence on earth. As Christians. jesus demands us to love one another and to treat all of his creations with respect and understanding. The mistreatment that is bestow on your homosexual population I s downright criminal and unchristian and ungodly. As I said earlier, the homosexual orientation is innate and is chosen nor can it be changed. Why would someone choose a behavior that relegates them to a life of hate, inequality, disdain, violence, rejection from family and friends, discrimination, second class citizenship, religious condemnation, and death by murder. Africa will never be a world class civilization until it understands the importance of the contributions each of its citizens whether gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, and Christian and non-Christian.

  3. Very touching knowing that not all of us are blessed to come through this. Myself being a gay black Muslim claiming asylum in UK was rejected February this year , after going through dark time depression anxiety trying suicide and my mental health. But God blesses me Friday 23 May when I had called from my solicitor Arona @ AronaStJames telling me that the home office has withdrawn their decision and I’m granted refugee status. My life has total change.
    We LGBTQ’s community need support and love. 🙏🙏

3 Pings & Trackbacks

  1. Pingback:

  2. Pingback:

  3. Pingback:

Leave a Reply

During the Covid-19 pandemic, LGBT-friendly charities need help

Two years in a Cameroon prison for two women’s passionate hug