Many gay, lesbian, and HIV-positive Somali refugees now fear persecution, jail, and even death sentences upon their return home after fleeing to Kenya to avoid harsh punishmentsharsh punishments under Sharia law.
Next month Kenya will be host to international leaders and groups like the International Organization for Immigration as they discuss the impending repatriation of the over one million Somali refugees still living on Kenyan soil. Meanwhile, refugees like Said Elmi maintain that a return to Somali would only result in deadly persecution for LGBT refugees. After having experienced this harsh treatment firsthand, he insisted that “all gays, lesbians, HIV/AIDS positive people and other minorities will be killed. It will be a massacre.”
This reality for marginalized Somali refugees has seemingly been ignored by leaders like UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UNHCR officials, who show no sign of slowing plans for orderly return of the refugees. While the UN urges a return to the homeland in order to alleviate the overcrowded Kenyan refugee camps, threatened Somali refugees see their homeland as nothing more than “a death chamber for gays and lesbians” while rebel war lords still run the state.