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Gay Man Burned in Kenya Refugee Camp Dies

One of the gay men who suffered burns during an attack at a Kenya refugee camp last month has died.

Reuters reported the man passed away at a hospital in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Monday. The Refugee Coalition of East Africa, which includes Kenya-based groups that advocate on behalf of LGBTQ refugees, identified the man as Chriton, who was also known as Trinidad.

“It is with deep sadness and anger that we have had to say goodbye to our fellow queer refugee, Chriton, aka Trinidad,” said the Refugee Coalition of East Africa in a press release.

Chriton was one of two gay men who suffered second-degree burns during the March 15 attack at the Kakuma refugee camp.

The Minnesota-based Black Immigrant Collective noted “petrol bombs were thrown into a group of LGBTQ+ refugees, allies and their children who live in” the camp’s Block 13. The U.N. Refugee Agency on Monday in a press release noted Chriton “was receiving treatment” at Nairobi’s Kenyatta National Hospital.

“After his admission, it was established that he was suffering from previous health issues for which he was also receiving treatment,” said UNHCR. “Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated and, despite the medical team’s best efforts, he passed away this morning.”

“We are deeply shocked by this tragic loss and wish to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victim,” said Fathiaa Abdalla, who is UNHCR’s representative in Kenya.

The UNHCR press release notes the other man who was burned during the attack “is recovering and is expected to be discharged soon.”

UNHCR to increase security for camp’s LGBTQ residents

The attack drew renewed attention to the plight of the LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers who live in Kakuma.

The Black Immigrant Collective and other advocacy groups have said UNHCR has not done enough to protect LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers who live in the camp. A U.N. official on Tuesday told Reuters that UNHCR will increase security for them.

UNHCR in a statement after the attack noted Kenya “remains the only country in the region to provide asylum to those fleeing persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” even though consensual same-sex sexual relations remain criminalized. Abdalla on Monday said UNHCR urges Kenyan authorities “to accelerate their investigation into the alleged attack and hold those responsible to account.”

This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.

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