GPP Research

SOGI-Related Forced Migration in East Africa: Fleeing Uganda After the Passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act

Gitta Zomorodi for Global Philanthropy Project, July 2015

Over the past decade, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans have sought safety and asylum in various countries, but never in such numbers or with such a high degree of visibility as following the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in December 2013. When reports of LGBT Ugandans seeking refuge in Kenya began to surface in the months following, many international donors and LGBT activists in the region felt at a loss for how to respond. Stories of LGBT Ugandans in the Kakuma refugee camp and Nairobi highlighted difficult living conditions, harassment, arrests and violence. Refugee service providers, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), struggled to respond to the unexpected influx, one that coincided with a government crackdown on refugees in Kenya. It seemed that the Ugandans had left one hostile and insecure environment for another, yet the numbers continued to grow. Instead of slowing, following the Anti-Homosexuality Act’s nullification in August 2014, the stream of asylum seekers from Uganda continued and even increased.

…The findings of the research are intended to inform the individuals and organizations who have been responding or wish to respond to this complex situation; to help strengthen protection mechanisms within Uganda and Kenya; and to support proactive and sustainable interventions to address LGBT forced migration. While the recommendations are focused on the situation related to Uganda, it is hoped that they have relevance to the region more broadly and wherever similar situations may arise.

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