LGBT Refugees Allege Harassment in Kenya, a Rare Safe Haven

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06/19/2019

Burundi national Nina Muregwa says she feels threatened again. After escaping death threats back home over her sexual identity the 17-year-old thought she had found a sanctuary in Kenya. Recent incidents, however, have left her scared for her life once more. She and other LGBT refugees allege they have been harassed by police in recent weeks in Kenya, which is a rare regional haven for the gay community and yet maintains that gay sex is illegal. It is the only East African nation where someone can seek asylum and be registered as a refugee based on their LGBT status, the United Nations refugee agency says. It is not clear how many are registered in Kenya. Muregwa and 16 other refugees allege that five police officers arrested them at gunpoint at home and locked them up without charge earlier this month. After they were released two days later on June 10, they allege another group of police officers tried to arrest them but the U.N. refugee agency intervened.

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