LGBTs and HIV positive people fear return to Somalia

LGBT Somali refugees and people with HIV fear persecution if they return to Somalia from Kenya despite calls by the UN for refugees to return to rebuild the nation

LGBT Somalis living in Kenya have expressed their fears about returning to their homelands despite calls by the United Nations for refugees to return to rebuild the country.

LGBTs can technically be imprisoned for up to 14 years for same-sex conduct in Kenya compared to 3 years under Somali federal law, but the Al-Shabaab islamist militant group has enforced the death penalty against LGBTs in the areas it holds.

GSN reported in March that the group had stoned to death an 18-year-old gay man named Mohamed Ali Baashi in the village of Barawe and LGBT and HIV positive Somali’s told Al-Jazeera they fear for their safety should they return.

‘Warlords have made Somalia a death chamber for gays and lesbians,’ a Somali journalist named Jamal told Al-Jazeera.

‘It is against international law to force such groups back to Somalia, given the risks.’

‘I have no doubt all gays, lesbians, HIV … positive people and other minorities will be killed. It will be a massacre,’ said Somali taxi driver Said Elmi who fled Somalia as a teenager.

‘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.’

An HIV positive woman who had left Nairobi last month told Al-Jazeera that she feared she would be killed if her status was revealed or that militants would force her into a marriage with another HIV positive person.

‘I pray they don’t learn about my HIV-positive status,’ she said. ‘I know of a number of women who have been killed to prevent them from spreading the disease.’

The United Nations has been encouraging Somali refugees to return despite a June 19 car bomb attack on its Mogadishu compound which killed 15 people.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack via its Twitter account, accusing the UN of ‘spreading nothing but poverty, dependency and disbelief.’

by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News