VITA Magazine » COMMUNITAS » Yalla Italia! » SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER »

Article written

  • on 27.08.2013
  • at 03:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Gay Somali refugees face death threats 0

Gay, lesbian and HIV-infected refugees from Somalia are facing persecution – and even the threat of death – should they return home.

Refugees have been under pressure to leave accommodations in Kenya, where many also face racist discrimination, after claims the country is now significantly safer than when Al-Shabaab had control of Mogadishu.

But many gay Somalis say returning is not an option for them.

“Warlords have made Somalia a death chamber for gays and lesbians,” said Jamal, a Somali journalist. “It is against international law to force such groups back to Somalia, given the risks.”

‘It will be a massacre’

Top UN officials, among them Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have claimed, however, that the country is safe and requires its citizens to help with the reconstruction process.

But for some refugees, the reality of going back home – whether by force or voluntarily – rests somewhere between a rock and hard place.

“I have no doubt all gays, lesbians, HIV/AIDS positive people and other minorities will be killed. It will be a massacre,” claimed Said Elmi, a 25-year-old taxi driver, who is fluent in Kiswahili, Kenya’s national language.

“I fled Bossaso [in northern Somalia] ten years ago, when a friend informed me and my partner that we were set to be arrested and prosecuted for imitating women and committing indecent acts,” revealed Elmi, who told us that his sexual orientation was, “not a secret”.

Cases such as Elmi’s are not isolated, but realities facing hundreds of refugees, doubly marginalised.

Another of Elmi’s friends, who works as a male sex worker in Nairobi’s Parklands area, said he would prefer to spend the rest of his life in a Kenyan jail than return to Somalia, and the possible “death by stoning” that awaits him there.

THE RISK OF RETURN

Aid workers and civil rights group privately and publicly say the level of risks, threats and hostility towards gays and lesbians has further complicated and worsened the plight of civilians in Somalia’s war-torn landscapes, as well as for refugees in Kenya and their families back home.

Abdinoor Farah, a Somali refugee who has lived in Kenya for more than ten years, says armed gangs, including al-Shabaab, have publicised their intent to “enforce harsh punishments” against perpetrators of adultery and homosexuality as a means of attracting funding from religious groups and sects.

continue reading on Pambazuka News

By Ali NoorPambazuka News

Photo credits: yahoo.com/Alijazeera

subscribe to comments RSS

Comments are closed

Project by VITA SOCIETÀ EDITORIALE S.P.A.
P.IVA 11273390150
ISCRIZIONE ROC N.3275
Direttore Responsabile afronline.org: Giuseppe Frangi
©2011-2015