LGBTQ+ people living in a refugee camp in northwestern Kenya have had to deal with a series of homophobic attacks by other residents and localsand, now, one individual has passed away after an arson-related attack in March.
The refugeeswho come from countries including Uganda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congosaid a section of the Kakuma camp occupied by 135 LGBT+ refugees had been attacked at least five times since the start of the year, Global Citizen reported.
The Refugee Coalition of East Africa issued a statement regarding the passing of one of the refugees:
It is with deep sadness and anger that we have had to say goodbye to our fellow queer refugee, Chriton, AKA Trinidad.
On 15 March of this year in the refugee camp at Kakuma, several of our fellows were victimized in an anti-LGBTQI hate crime. The attackers set fire to the homes of our fellow queer refugees, destroying property, hurting many, and now taking a life. The attack has gone unpunished and Kenyan authorities seem unsurprisingly unconcerned with pursuing justice.
We are tired of saying goodbye to our fellows. We are exhausted by the lack of action taken by those in power because they do not care and they do not see us, refugees and queer persons, as people. We are furious that yet another of our community has perished only for nothing to be done, nothing to change, and with no justice.
Trinidad did not deserve to die. He was only living his life, having escaped the victimization in his own country only to be murdered here in Kenya. He was a good person who only wanted to love, to live, to be free, and to let his true identity shine. For that he was attacked, burned, and killed. And for that his attackers continue to roam free.
We understand that there is much happening in the world and that many are suffering, but we implore the international community to take notice, to remember that we exist, and to raise your voices against those who harm us. We are being quite literally murdered just for existing. We know that the global crisis is rightfully drawing the attention of the world and its leaders, but still we implore humankind to not let us slip from your consciousness.
Goodbye, Trinidad. We saw you, we loved you and we will miss you. You will not be forgotten.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency also issued a statement regarding Trinidad's passing. "We are deeply shocked by this tragic loss and wish to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victim. We urge the Kenyan authorities to accelerate their investigation into the alleged attack and hold those responsible to account," said Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR's representative in Kenya.
According to UNHCR, Trinidad "was receiving treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital. After his admission, it was established that he was suffering from previous health issues for which he was also receiving treatment. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated.
"The other burn victim is recovering and is expected to be discharged soon."